Fighting privatisation and defending public services
Across Europe the quantity and quality of our public services and the pay and conditions of our members are under threat from privatisation. EPSU is committed to fighting privatisation in any of its forms whether contracting-out and sub-contracting, public-private partnerships or various processes of commercialisation or marketisation. This briefing on privatisation was produced for the EPSU Congress in 2019 and covers the main work done over the last Congress period and the priorities for the current period.
Public and private sector efficiency is an important report that provides a comprehensive overview of academic research that challenges the idea that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector. The future is public is the latest update on insourcing highlighting the trends to bring privatised services back under public ownership and control.
Workers in four social care organisations in Oslo have been taking strike action in support of their demands that all employees should be paid in line with pay rates in the municipal sector. Their union Fagforbundet says that pay rates for nurses are comparable to the public sector but assistant nurses and other workers could be paid around NOK 100000 (EUR 9800) a year less than people doing the same job a municipal care provider. The union is challenging two major companies – Stendi and Norlandia – to tackle this pay inequality and ensure fair pay across the sector.
The trade union movement has applied for a judicial review of the change in law that effectively allows employers to summarily dismiss workers without reason once they reach pension age. They also want the legislation suspended. Unions reacted angrily to the new law which they argue was inappropriately included in a package of temporary measures to deal with the pandemic. The measure was implemented without any form of social dialogue and the unions have raised this specific concern with the European Commission.
Health and social care unions in the Basque region have been involved in a series of protests and strikes. Mobilisations in public health during December and January will culminate in a day of strike action on 28 January. The unions are angry about the failure of the public health system to honour basic rights to information and collective bargaining. They are concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the system and the way that management have responded by taking unilateral decisions on working conditions, health and safety and precarious employment. Two days earlier, on 26 January unions
Trade unions aim to challenge a change to dismissal and retirement rights that took effect on 1 January. This was a last-minute change introduced by the government as part of a new package of measures in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The legislation means that employers can now dismiss without justification any worker who reaches state pension age. The unions have attacked the change on several grounds. It was introduced without any due process of social dialogue; it is a permanent change rather than part of a temporary response to the pandemic; it flies in the face of many efforts in
Members of public services union Fagforbundet are involved in a strike over pay against church employers. Following the failure of mediation, the union had to resort to strike action to prevent employers from reducing starting pay rates for new priests. There is also concern that priests who switch jobs might lose out. The union argues that such a measure would only worsen the current recruitment crisis. Meanwhile, a strike of childcare workers organised by Fagforbundet and Delta was called off at the last minute when the Norlandia group agreed to introduce a pension scheme in line with the
Negotiations for a new collective agreement covering the state sector will begin in mid-January and the FNV trade union has surveyed members to identify the main priorities. Over 80% of respondents said that it was important for the union to maintain its proposed claim for a 5% pay increase. The feeling was that this was necessary to cover cost of living increases and recruit and retain staff. Members were also keen on an allowance for working from home or support to cover any costs related to home working. Early retirement is also on the agenda while the FNV will be looking for measures to
The Fagforbundet and Delta trade unions warn that strike action could follow if mediation doesn’t produce a result in a dispute over pension provision in the Norlandia Group. The unions are fighting for a hybrid pension scheme that would give employees a decent pension for life. This is the kind of scheme that is widely available in most private childcare companies but not Norlandia. The unions underline that the type of scheme they are arguing for particularly benefits women and that an industry standard must be maintained for private childcare companies so that employees' pay, working and
Three trade unions (CGT, FP-CGIL and PCS) representing workers in cultural services in France, Italy and the UK have come together to highlight the urgent need for action to support the sector and tackle poor pay and employment conditions. They argue that the sector has been particularly hard hit by measures to tackle the pandemic and these have been intensified because of the extent of outsourcing and precarious employment. The unions are calling for a strengthening of public culture services, decent and secure employment conditions and action to stop privatisation and outsourcing. CGT (EN
EPSU, PSI and over 150 civil society organizations stand behind UN Special Rapporteur Léo Heller and denounce private water industry interference
A group of private water operators tried to block the discussion of the report on “The Privatisation of Water and Sanitation Services” of the United Nations (U.N.). 150 organisations including EPSU and PSI intervened to keep it on the agenda.
Public services union Fagforbundet has warned that a dispute over pensions could end in strike action unless the Spekter employer organisation delivers a solution in upcoming mediation. The dispute covers workers in the culture sector, including orchestras, theatres and opera. A temporary pension arrangement involving defined contributions was agreed in 2016 in response to the final challenges facing the sector. The union now wants to negotiate a long-term solution that delivers a hybrid and gender-neutral pension scheme but Spekter has not come up with a proposal and has effectively abandoned
ADEDY, the public service confederation, has called a 24-hour strike on 15 October. It has a wide range of demands starting with calls for increased funding for healthcare, filling vacancies and taking appropriate anti-COVID 19 action with provision of personal protective equipment and extension and increase in allowances for dangerous and unhealthy work. ADEDY also wants to see action across the public services to tackle staff shortages and recruit more workers on permanent contracts and to stop privatisation.