Strike action organised by the JHL public services union was instrumental in maintaining the collective agreement covering around 1000 employees of the cleaning and catering company Arkea, owned by the City of Turku. The company had switched to another employers' organisation so that it could sign up to a different and inferior collective agreement. This would have meant employees suffering cuts in pay of 15%-30%. After strike action by the 1000 employees at Arkea, a second strike also involving local transport workers was organised. With the threat of a third strike the company agreed to
Staffing levels, Outsourcing
A long-running dispute in hospitals in North West England has been resolved with pay rises for workers employed by the outsourcing company Compass. Before the deal, Compass employees were on the national minimum wage (£8.21 per hour/EUR 9.65), while colleagues employed directly by the NHS were earning at least £9.03 (EUR 10.60). This meant Compass workers were losing out to the tune of around £1,500 (EUR 1760) a year (see EPSU CB News August 2019, 15). The agreement negotiated by UNISON and overwhelmingly supported by the workers means they’ll now receive a significant pay rise, more money for
Thirteen trade union organisations and health campaigning groups came together on 14 February to strike and join demonstrations calling for urgent action on the funding and provision of health and social services. This follows the previous national action on 17 December (EPSU CB News 24, December 2019). The key demands are for an increase in funding, action on recruitment and training, recognition of the arduousness of work in the sector, a stop on closures of facilities, opening up governance of hospitals to workers and patients and ensuring equal access to quality services.
The public service federations of the CGIL, CISL and UIL confederations have come together to set out their platform of key demands for negotiating the next three-year agreements in local government and health. The unions have underlined the need for urgent action to boost recruitment and reclassify jobs in recognition of the value of the work of public service employees. They are also calling for measures to reduce precarious work, currently affecting some 350,000 workers across the public sector. The unions also want to see improvements to industrial relations in the sector and measures to
The HSSMS-MT nursing union has joined with other nursing organisations in submitting a series of demands on the government to address the urgent problem of understaffing resulting from emigration and retirement. The joint document highlights the increased pressure that the health service faces and the failure of recent governments to provide solutions. The unions and associations want to see proper recognition of qualifications and responsibilities in the job and pay structure and recruitment of more staff. They are also calling for clear plan to address training and education needs.
The health and social service federations - CCOO-Sanidad and FeSP-UGT - are planning to mobilise workers in the care sector in March to put pressure on employers to negotiate a collective agreement. The unions will organise protests outside the head offices of the main companies in the sector highlighting the problems in relation to low pay, health and safety and inadequate staffing that face the 250,000 overwhelmingly women workers. The unions are also calling on the government to tackle underfunding of services and to ensure decent working conditions through procurement.
Public and private sector health unions (younion, GÖD, vida and GPA-djp) have joined with the chamber of labour and chamber of doctors in a campaign - "health offensive". The aim is to achieve major change across the health and long-term care sectors and tackle some of the long-standing issues of understaffing and overwork that have been exposed by the impact of COVID-19. The unions have managed to establish a structured dialogue with the health ministry to address seven key issues - staffing, working conditions, training, career development, investment and ensuring service provision.
Fourteen trade unions that organise workers right across the National Health Service have sent joint letters to the prime minister and chancellor (finance minister) calling for quick action to agree a pay rise for all health workers. The unions argue that the public want to see health workers properly valued and rewarded and that a decent pay rise would be a step in the right direction. The unions don't want a simple COVID-19 bonus but a pay rise that will help retain and recruit staff and address the falling purchasing power of health workers who have seen pay frozen or capped below inflation
Vision and Kommunal, the trade unions representing workers and managers in eldercare, have issued a joint call for action on working conditions and work organisation to address the long-standing problems in the sector that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis. The unions underline the importance of continuity of care that they say is best delivered through a stable base of long-term and full-time employment. They have set a target of increasing the proportion of permanent employees to 90 percent. They also want to see a benchmark of 25 employees per manager in the elderly care to help
The FOA trade union has called for urgent action to address training and recruitment in eldercare. It quotes a new report revealing a sharp decline in the numbers of people being trained to work in the sector. It was already forecast that there would be a staffing shortage of around 40000 by 2028 but the figures on training - a decline of 36% in the number of young people on training courses - suggest an even greater shortage. The government has agreed to a request by FOA to convene a summit of politicians, employers and unions to debate how to tackle the problem.
Health and social care unions have reacted differently to the government's €7.5 billion package on pay and jobs. The CFDT has welcomed the proposals that it says will mean a €90 net increase a month for most health workers from September with a further €93 increase from March 2021. On top of this a working group will be set up to look at revaluating pay for certain occupations which will be implemented in January 2022. The lowest paid workers in the sector, currently on the minimum wage should see their pay increase by 15%. Around 8000 jobs will be created and 7300 vacancies filled. The FO
The national nurses' association is threatening strike action if the government doesn't agree to talks to address serious understaffing and low pay. The union says that there was already a shortfall of 1500 nurses before the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation has seriously deteriorated as the country has been hit by a second wave. Infection of health staff is increasing with around 1000 nurses now in quarantine while those at work are facing increasing workloads, long working houjs and greater stress. The government has promised some additional funding but the union wants to see urgent action
After negotiations dating back to November 2018 the public and private sector health and care unions (younion, GÖD, GPA-djp and vida) have secured a €34 million package of improvements to the pay and conditions of workers in the Upper Austria region. As of 1 February 2021 qualified nurses, midwives and clinical social workers will get pay rises ranging from €97 to €194 a month. Improvements to other conditions include a second night shift in care homes with more than 60 beds, additional support staff and the right to full-time work for part-time staff. The measures will be implemented directly
Public service unions are fighting for better pay from outsourcing companies and to stop further outsourcing. Members of the PCS civil service union are continuing their long-running strike to get outsourcers Aramark and ISS to pay the living wage. They are calling on government intervention to resolve the dispute. Meanwhile health workers in Bradford in the north east are threatening an all-out strike in protest at plans to transfer them to a wholly-owned subsidiary rather than retain them as direct employees of the National Health Service.
A nine-month long dispute between the PCS civil service union and contractors ISS and Aramark could be near to conclusion if details of a pay offer are confirmed. The companies provide services to the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy which has indicated that the contractors may meet the union's demand to pay the London living wage of £10.55 (EUR 11.80) an hour. Meanwhile, the union is planning another five days of strike action in another long-running dispute, this time over union recognition at the contractor Interserve which provides services for the Foreign Office.