(January 2017) Workers at the AWE nuclear weapons company are planning two periods of 48-hour strike action in protest at plans to close their defined benefit pension scheme on 31 January and replace it with a defined contributions scheme. The Unite union says that this decision goes against the commitment made to maintain the pension scheme when the AWE was privatised in the early 1990s. The Prospect trade union called off a strike in December on the basis that a process of conciliation would begin.
Privatisation, Central government
Following World War (II) and the experience with fascism and nazism, the French people and government wanted to ensure that civil and public servants were not merely to be regarded as workers that blindly obey orders.
(January 2017) The FP CGIL public services federation has analysed employment data to show the impact of job cuts and recruitment freezes. It estimates that there are some 237000 fewer public sector jobs than in 2007 while the health service has seen a fall of 50000 jobs since 2009. The recruitment freeze has also contributed to an ageing workforce with average ages across the public sector over 50 and rising. The union wants to see these issues addressed in collective bargaining with an urgent need to recruit young workers and for action on staffing levels in the health service.The CISL FP
(January 2017) Using the latest official figures, the FSC-CCOO federation warns of the growing crisis in the prisons sector with over 2800 posts unfilled. Some prisons face higher than average shortages and the union warns of the health and safety threat posed both to prison workers and inmates. Projections also show that without urgent action a quarter of the workforce will be over 60 by 2020. The union is concerned that staff shortages will contribute to pressure to privatise some services. This critical situation also featured in a session at the EPSU collective bargaining conference in
The research “Financing health care: False Profits and the Public Good', by Jane Lethbridge of Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), University of Greenwich was commissioned by PSI and released
(January 2017) In December forestry workers took to the streets demanding a delay in their forced transfer to the carabinieri police force. The transfer will deny them the right to strike. The government has not only gone ahead and abolished the state forestry service but has failed to respond to formal requests by hundreds of workers to be transferred to other parts of the public administration. The FP CGIL trade union is continuing to defend the workers through campaigning and legal action.
(January 2017) Public sector unions signed a new collective agreement with the government last month providing for a 6% pay rise. The increase will be paid in three instalments - 2% from 1. January,2%1.August and 2% 1.November. This was part of an agreement that pay would increase once the economy grew by at least 2% over two quarters. SDLSN union leader Boris Plesa reported on these developments at the EPSU collective bargaining conference on 10-11 January.
(May 2017) Two members of ver.di with the support of their union and the DGB confederation have won an important ruling in the European Court of Justice that protects the link between their pay and conditions and the public sector collective agreement. The two hospital employees were part of a transfer to a private company in 1997 but were then transferred again when the Asklepios company won the contract. Asklepios refused to maintain the link with the public sector collective agreement arguing that it was not party to the original negotiations. The European Court decided in favour of the
(May 2017) Public service trade unions have had a series of meetings with the new minister of public accounts, Gérald Darminin, with some already unhappy that his remit is not broad responsibility for the public services. The unions have a number of major concerns including the need for a pay rise, particularly for the lowest paid occupations and rejection of the plans to cut 120000 civil service posts. Pensions and other working conditions were also raised in the meetings with the minister indicating that joint meetings with the unions would take place later in the year.