Restructuring, Recruitment & organising
Strong public service unions are vital if we are to stand up for our values and our vision in our workplaces, sectors and communities. They are crucial in dealing with national, European and global institutions and in representing public service workers in national trade union centres and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). EPSU affiliates are more effective in negotiating and campaigning where they can count on an active membership, high union density or broad support from workers.
EPSU has been taking a range of initiatives to support affiliates, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, to build union power by developing recruitment and organising strategies and campaigns. This briefing, prepared for the 2019 Congress, covers recent work and current priorities. Our Organising and Campaigns staff, Agnieszka Ghinararu and Miloš Vlaisavljević, are working with affiliates to help them with advice, support and training and keeping them informed about new ideas on recruitment and organising methods.
Trade unions representing workers in the public finance directorate (DGFiP) will be taking strike action on 10 May in protest at the continuing restructuring of the organisation and to defend workers’ rights and working conditions. The unions say that 30000 jobs have been cut since 2008 and a long-running process of restructuring has been carried out with digitalisation a key driver. They want a hold on restructuring and relocation and are concerned that the digital transformation and other changes are having a negative impact not just on the workforce but also on the quality of service. The
Services union ver.di has successfully fought off attempts by the Nord Residenz care company to shut down the works council. On 27 April, the regional labour court in Bremen in North West Germany ruled against the company’s attempts to dismiss the works council chair and her deputy, expel them from the works council and dissolve the works council itself. Nord Residenz is owned by the French multinational Orpea. Ver.di welcomed the many messages of solidarity support from trade unions across Europe and interventions by the state government and mayor of Bremen. Meanwhile, the union faces a major
The impact of the pandemic has led to restructuring of some care homes in the Brussels region where employers are arguing that declining occupation rates and costs of anti-COVID measures are making some homes unviable. The Armonea (Colisée) group has announced plans to close one facility (Sebrechts) with the loss of 108 jobs while unions at the Senior Living Group, part of the Korian multinational, are looking at ways to avoid compulsory redundancies with a range of measures. The unions at the Sebrecht care home have issued a strike notice and there is determination to fight what is seen as a
Respect for trade union rights, collective bargaining and social dialogue part of our democratic values – say North East European constituency unions
The EPSU affiliates of North East Europe expressed their concerns about developments in the region in the online meeting of the North East European constituency on 3 March. They received information about the situation in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine.
Following mobilisations on 14 and 19 January in protest at restructuring plans affecting the ENGIE and EDF energy companies, trade unions have set dates for further action in February. The four energy unions are planning joint mobilisations on 4, 10 and 11 February to coincide with key debates in parliament. Strike action is planned for the 10th when the head of EDF will be taking part in parliamentary hearing. The unions have also been lobbying MPs, 83 of whom have joined with the unions in sending a letter to the government protesting against the EDF “Hercule” restructuring project.
On 19 January trade unions in the energy sector took further action in their campaign against the “Hercule” restructuring project in EDF, the main energy provider in France. EPSU and industriAll Europe sent a joint letter expressing their support for the unions, arguing that the plans pose a major threat to the company, its workers and the provision of energy as a public service. Meanwhile, unions representing health and social care also continued their protests on 12 and 21 January. A key issue is ensuring that pay increases awarded last year cover all health and social care workers
Four energy trade union in France organised another day of action on 17 December in protest at what they see as major threats to the sector, such as the “Hercule” restructuring plans at EDF, and its public service mission. FNME-CGT, CFE-CGC Énergies, FO Énergie et Mines and FCE-CFDT are concerned that key decisions about the sector are being taken without proper consultation both with the unions and in parliament. Meanwhile, the Filctem-Cgil, Flaei-Cisl and Uiltec energy unions in Italy achieved a significant victory in the ENEL company following a campaign of industrial action. The unions