Pensions/retirement, Work-life balance, Women & Gender Equality
Just over 300 members of the Fagforbundet and FO health and welfare trade unions in three hospitals began strike action on 29 May in protest at unfair pension arrangements. The unions, among several coordinated by the LO confederation in its LO Stat group, are claiming full pension rights from day one and from the first Krone earnt in line with the arrangements in the municipal sector. At the moment employees working less than 20% of normal full-time hours are not able to build up pension rights. The unions point out that this is clearly gender discrimination as 75% of those affected are women
The health conference of the vpod public service union has called for action to tackle the stress, long working hours, involuntary part-time work and low pay in the sector which is part of the persistent discrimination faced by women workers. The union wants to see a revaluation of pay of health and care jobs to recognise the arduousness and increased responsibilities of many occupations. Vpod is also calling for major improvements to work-life balance, reductions in working time, better shift planning, possibilities for retirement from 60 and provision of necessary training. The union says
The ETUC has called for swift adoption of the draft directive on work-life balance as a key measure that will make a real difference to women's pay and employment prospects. According to the ETUC the Directive would strengthen rights in many member states. For example paid paternity leave of 10 days would be new in Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Croatia, and Slovakia, while four months' paid and non-transferable parental leave would improve rights in Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK. Measures on carers' lave and the right to request flexible working arrangements
Negotiations have begun over changes to the public sector pensions scheme. The Fagforbundet trade union is particularly concerned about addressing gender equality issues and for pensions to take account of the arduousness of many jobs in health and social care which are dominated by women. The demands of many of these jobs often mean that workers cannot stay at work until normal pension age and so there have to be suitable arrangements for early retirement. The union also wants to see improvements in the rules covering the combination of work and retirement.