After the surge in remote working as a result of the pandemic, trade unions in Ireland, Russia and Spain have welcomed new initiatives, including legislation and collective agreements, that regulate telework. Research by the Eurofound research agency also looks into the negative and positive implications of telework for workers’ autonomy and work-life balance raising again the challenges to ensure that workers have control over their working time and underlining the importance of current discussions at European level on the right to disconnect.
Restructuring, Work-life balance
The ambiguous effects of telework In 2017, a joint report from the Eurofound research agency and the International Labour Organization observed that advances in digital technology were making it easier to work anytime and anywhere. The phenomenon of telework and mobile work has been increasing
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
On November 26, workers in the French multinational electric utility companies ENGIE and EDF are mobilising to defend the future of their jobs, the public energy sector and to demand the suspension of the companies’ current restructuring projects.
On 26 November, unions in the multinational energy companies ENGIE and EDF mobilised to defend jobs and the public energy sector, demanding the suspension of the companies’ restructuring projects. The unions argue that, if implemented, the plans will endanger both the future of employees and the French energy sector with little consideration of the disastrous social consequences. EPSU sent a message of solidarity for the action. Joint communique (FR)
More than 12,000 members of the DSR nursing union took part in a consultation over what should be the main demands in the upcoming collective bargaining negotiations in the public sector. The DSR has selected the main elements focusing on higher pay and better protection of leisure time. The union will aim for as large a percentage wage increase as possible that would recognise the large increase in workload and demands for flexibility during the pandemic and the need to recruit and retain health staff. The DSR recognises, however, the pressure on public finances and the impact of the formula
The FNV and NU'91 trade unions have negotiated a new collective agreement that provides for a 3% pay increase for workers in maternity care. The last collective agreement actually expired on 1 January this year but bargaining has been difficult not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic but also because the unions are looking for key improvements on work-life balance and on-call time which the employers are reluctant to agree. As a result the agreement is only for this calendar year. It also includes a 1.5% increase on the end-of-year bonus taking from 6.2% to 7.7% of salary and there is a one
The Kommunal municipal workers’ union has submitted its claims for this year’s delayed negotiations with the SKR and Sobona employer organisations. The union is underlining that its key demands on pay, working hours and other conditions are fundamental to recognise the efforts made by local and regional government workers and health and social care staff in dealing with last year’s fires and the current pandemic. Kommunal is calling for a 3% pay rise for all workers with an additional 0.5% distributed locally to vocationally trained groups in health care, schools and care. The agreement should
Energy unions are facing challenges on several fronts. Leading gas company Centrica has faced major criticism from unions - GMB, UNISON, Unite and Prospect - when it followed up an announcement of 5000 job cuts with a plan to sack and re-hire 20000 staff on worse terms and conditions. The GMB union has already had a consultative ballot which showed 95% support for strike action and so a formal ballot will be undertaken. Meanwhile the GMB members at Northern Gas Networks have voted 98% in favour of industrial action on pay while Unite members at the Drax energy company have been balloted over