Low pay/minimum wages
Trade unions across Europe have been sending messages of solidarity to Ukrainian unions as they step up their campaign against planned reforms of labour law. Proposed legislation would abolish the most important legal and social guarantees for workers and trade unions covering minimum wages, pay and leave for hazardous work, weekly rest periods, overtime pay and limits, restrictions on night work for women, dismissal rights and protection of workers with disabilities. It allows for more flexible contracts, including zero-hours and weakens trade union rights. A national day of action has been
The KKDSZ culture workers' union has launched a petition highlighting low pay in the sector and plans to hand it to the minister of human resources on 22 January, the national day of culture. The union will highlight the contradiction of government claims that national culture is important while failing to increase pay for museum, library and other culture workers for over 10 years or engage in proper collective bargaining. The union is planning a number of events in Budapest and other cities. EPSU send a message of solidarity.
On 14 January the European Commission published a document on fair wages, launching a six-week consultation process with trade unions and employer organisations. The ETUC welcomed some key points in the document such as the acknowledgement that wage in many countries were too low and that collective bargaining is an essential element of a social market economy. However, it was also disappointed that the document was very short on concrete measures, particularly in relation to strengthening and extending collective bargaining. The ETUC is drafting a response that will be discussed at its
On the National Day of Hungarian Culture, Hungarian workers in the cultural sector demand better pay!
EPSU affiliates KKDSZ are holding a demonstration to protest the unacceptable low level of pay across the culture sector and the lack of any pay increase for their members for over 10 years.
As the debate continues during the first phase consultation over the European Commission's proposals on fair minimum wages, the ETUC is highlighting the need for a major boost to legal minimum wages across Europe. It argues that in most of the 22 EU member states with a statutory national minimum wage it fails to meet even the minimal at risk-of-poverty wage threshold of 60% of the median wage. In 10 member states, the statutory minimum is 50% or less of the national median wage.
The main item on the agenda was the response of the ETUC to the First Phase Consultation of Social Partners under Article 154 TFEU on a possible action addressing the challenges related to fair minimum wages.
The three main unions in local government - Unison, Unite and GMB - have rejected a 2% pay rise as a wholly inadequate offer from the employers. The unions have submitted a joint pay claim that aims to provide some redress for years of pay freezes and below-inflation increases. These have left local government workers some 22% worse off in real terms. The aim is for a new minimum rate of GBP 10 (EUR 12) per hour and a 10% increase for all workers.
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.
The European Trade Union Institute suggests that prospects for a European minimum wage could move up the political agenda when Germany takes over the EU Presidency next year. The German government has indicated its support for a debate on the issue which is supported by the DGB, the national confederation. A new report by the trade union-backed WSI research institute confirms that there have been significant increases in several minimum wage rates across Europe but that the majority of countries still have rates that are well below the 60% median wage target,
The health conference of the vpod public service union has called for action to tackle the stress, long working hours, involuntary part-time work and low pay in the sector which is part of the persistent discrimination faced by women workers. The union wants to see a revaluation of pay of health and care jobs to recognise the arduousness and increased responsibilities of many occupations. Vpod is also calling for major improvements to work-life balance, reductions in working time, better shift planning, possibilities for retirement from 60 and provision of necessary training. The union says
Non-teaching staff at schools across the country took strike action on 21-22 March with support increasing on the second day and many schools closing. The unions are calling for action on low pay noting that with the recent increase in the minimum wage new workers are now often earning as much as staff with 20 years' service. The unions want to see a proper career structure put in place and measures to reduce precarious employment in order to recognise the contribution that these workers make to the education system.
An analysis by the GMB trade union reveals that care workers in the private sector are three times more likely to be on a zero hours contract than those in the public sector. It also finds that employees of private care companies are paid 17% less on average than their public sector counterparts and four in ten leave their job every year. Over 50% per cent of private carers have no relevant social care qualifications, compared with less than 20% in the public sector. The union highlights the underlying problem of underfunding of the sector, an issue which it says is becoming more acute as