Nine trade union federations have sent a joint letter to the public services minister calling for immediate pay negotiations. The unions are concerned about the long-term erosion of purchasing power. At the beginning of this year the national minimum wage (SMIC) rose to EUR 10.25 an hour (EUR 1554.58 a month) and this meant pay rates at the bottom of the Category C public sector pay grade fell below the minimum. Instead of increasing the index point on which all public sector salaries are based, the government simply added two index points to these lowest pay rates. The unions point out that
Working Time, Central government
Negotiating and campaigning on working time
After pay, working time is core collective bargaining issue but is also an important area of employment regulated by national and European legislation. EPSU has been very active in defending and calling for proper implementation of the Working Time Directive and is involved in current debates on working time. The why and how of working time reduction is a guide produced for EPSU by the European Trade Union Institute and examines long-term trends in working time, the arguments for reducing it and examples of how this has been achieved.
EPSU joined with the ADEDY civil service trade union confederation in sending solidarity messages to trade unions representing health and social security workers taking action to defend jobs and services. The POEDHN health union organised demonstrations on 7 April and plans work stoppages for 22 April to promote a wide range of demands. The union wants COVID-19 to be recognized as an occupational disease and is calling for better pay for health and social care workers as an essential measure to tackle staff shortages. Meanwhile, the POSE-IKA and POPOKP trade unions organised a 48-hour warning
Six trade unions are coming together to take strike action over jobs and precarious employment in the public sector in the Basque region. The unions are responding to the failure of the regional government to address public employment and the persistently high levels of temporary contracts across the public sector. Action is planned for 22 April across all the main public services – municipalities, health, education, general administration, justice, public transport, public media and other sectors. The unions want to see the thousands of temporary workers who have been crucial to tackling the
The Common Front of the Public Administration Unions has announced a national day of action on 20 May to push the government to respond to its key collective bargaining demands for 2021. The unions are calling for a EUR 90 increase for all workers and a minimum salary of EUR 850 a month. They also want action to improve career development and the revocation of the SIADAP performance management system.
A new agreement between unions, employers and the Flemish government has delivered a range of benefits for workers in various health and social services in the non-profit sector. Overall, there will be the equivalent of 3,716 new posts to help tackle high workloads. There will be a general 1.7% increase in wages but with some additional increases for those on the lowest pay rates and those will long service. In elderly care, the rehabilitation sector, psychiatric care homes and sheltered living initiatives, there will be a new pay structure from 1 July 2021, bringing pay rates in alignment
A survey of the membership of the SEKO trade union in the energy sector reveals that the working environment has deteriorated in the years since deregulation. It found problems with, among other things, risks of working alone, stress and increasing overtime. The survey identified differences between those directly employed by energy companies and those working for construction companies where 54% believe that their work environment is negatively affected by the current procurement system, compared with 34% of those who are employed by a plant owner. Furthermore, in construction companies, 42%
Five firefighters are set to receive a total of almost half a million euros in compensation following a victory in a legal case on working time supported by their union, JHL. The city of Jyväskylä will have to pay the unpaid wages and the costs incurred by the union. The Labour Court ruled unanimously that the firefighters should have been paid in full for working time for periods on standby. In a system in force between January 2004 and the end of March 2016, the firefighters were required to arrive at the fire station within five minutes of the alarm being sounded. The court ruled that five
The European and global trade union confederations (ETUC and ITUC) have written to the Romanian government to protest against the decision not to implement a pay increase for public sector workers. The letter also challenges the government on anti-union statements and threats to remove the right of trade unions to collect membership fees through check-off. EPSU also wrote to the government along similar lines in January and followed up this letter in March – with no reply received so far to either letter.
Public services union Fórsa has asked the government to open negotiations over an agreement on remote working. The union notes that there have been some positive outcomes from the recent increase in telework as a result of the pandemic, but an agreement is needed to regulate what could be a long-term shift in the organisation of work across the public sector. Fórsa has set out some key elements for the agreement which include, among others: agreed guidelines for identifying functions that can be performed remotely; fair access and the right to request remote work; right to decline remote work
The three confederations – Cgil, Csil and Uil – have signed a pact for innovation on public employment and social cohesion with the government that sets out the main areas for negotiation across the public services. The unions see the agreement as an important political framework that affirms that public services are a resource for the country and that revitalisation of public administration must be through the involvement of public service workers and through the enhancement of their jobs and working conditions. The pact follows a series of recent mobilisations and a national public sector
The collective agreement on pay and working time in emergencies is being applied across several regions in response to the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus. The agreement was negotiated across the public services in 2019 in response to what at the time were the demands placed on fire and rescue services by forest fires. It covers, among other things, the increase of regular working hours to a maximum of 48 hours per week and provides for additional payments with special emergency overtime permitted on top of regular working hours. The agreement also enables the hiring and lending of
The two main public service federations – FSC-CCOO and FesP-UGT – recently met with the public services minister to underline their concerns about precarious employment and urge action to implement existing agreements to curb the use of temporary contracts. The unions raised issues around staffing levels and the ageing public sector workforce but stressed that job insecurity was a major problem and that the proportion of workers on temporary contracts was still too high and had worsened in the response to the pandemic. The federations also called for action to remove any discrimination in the
Public sector unions remain angry that the government has not only failed to implement a pay rise that was set in legislation last year but also refused to engage in social dialogue. This anger has been further fed by anti-union comments from the prime minister who has challenged the independence of public sector unions, their right to collect dues by check-off and their right to protest. Unions are considering further protests. EPSU has sent letters of protest to the prime minister and raised the issue with the European Commission as the behaviour of the Romanian government clearly flies in
Public sector unions have been active in protests against the government’s refusal to abide by legislation and implement a pay increase for public sector workers. They are also challenging the government for its failure to agree to any social dialogue with the unions and are concerned about possible cuts to bonuses and holiday allowances. Health workers took action in January and other public service workers continued the protests through February and are now considering what further action to take. The Publisind federation that includes the SNPP police and prison officers’ union have also
PCS, the largest union in the civil service, has negotiated a three-year deal covering workers in the HMRC department (revenues and customs), the third largest section of the civil service with around 60000 workers. The deal includes an average 13% increase in pay over three years: with 3% paid in March 2021 and backdated to June 2020; a further 5% payable from June 2021; and a further 5% payable from June 2022. The pay award is significantly weighted towards providing major increases for the lowest paid. The agreement also allows for significant progression through the various pay ranges for