Working Time, Energy
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.
The ADEDY and GSEE public and private sector trade union confederations have continued their campaign to stop major changes to labour legislation. They are concerned that plans to deregulate the labour market will put the eight-hour day at risk and other measures will weaken the labour inspectorate. ADEDY reported high levels of support for its 24-hour strike on 16 June following earlier 24-hour action on 10 June. The GSEE followed up its 24-hour strike on 10 June with a four-hour action on the 16th.
Additional unpaid working time introduced as an austerity measure eight years ago continues to be a drain on morale and productivity across the civil and public service. That’s according to a report by the public service committee of the ICTU confederation. The report says the additional hours fall hardest on women, and are counterproductive in terms of service delivery and productivity. They remain “a deep and primary industrial relations grievance” among public servants, it says. In particular, the report argues not only that It has never been correct to assume that increased working time
In February 2021, the European Commission launched a new strategy on adaptation to climate change as part of the European Green Deal. The objective is to make the European Union a climate-resilient society, fully adapted to climate change by 2050.
The GSEE and ADEDY private and public sector trade union confederations organised a 24-hour general strike on 10 June in protest at draft legislation on labour law changes. The confederations are particularly concerned that the new law will allow individual worker contracts that will undermine the eight-hour day and increase overtime. They are also protesting over further attacks on the right to strike and the weakening of the labour inspectorate. EPSU sent a solidarity message. Meanwhile, the OME-EYDAP water trade union has been mobilising to resist job cuts and other threats to pay and
Trade unions and employers have put forward a joint proposal to government for legislation to provide greater protection for precarious workers. If adopted, this will outlaw zero-hours contracts with all workers entitled to a minimum level of working hours each month. It will also aim to close any loopholes to ensure that all workers who’ve been on temporary contracts for three years will be offered a permanent contract. Further provisions include allowing temporary contracts only when required by illness or surges in demand and greater protection for temporary workers against dismissal. The
Public services union Fórsa has written to the chief executives of all local authorities to ask them to engage with four-day week pilot programmes. This is the latest move in the union’s campaign for reduced working time without loss of pay or productivity. Fórsa is part of a coalition of employers, unions, environmental and women’s campaign groups, which is calling for a gradual, steady and managed transition to a shorter working week in all sectors of the economy. The union will also be talking to the government about support for the initiative and is hoping to involve public and private
Workers in energy production and supply companies are set to get a 2.0% pay increase from 1 May following an improved pay offer from the employers (up from 1.25%). The agreement runs from 1 October 2020 to 30 April 2022 and includes a one-off payment of €400 gross for all employees who have been continuously employed in the sector since January 2020. Meanwhile, the FNV trade union reports positive initial talks in the energy network sector where negotiations were due to start on 29 April.
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%
Trade unions in the childcare sector organised a day of action on 30 March in protest at government proposals that they say would lead to a deterioration in service quality and working conditions. The unions are concerned about the prospect of an increase in staff/children ratios and failure to address issues related to skills, pay and career development. Meanwhile, in the latest stage of their campaign against the restructuring of the energy sector, the four trade unions – FNME-CGT, CFE-CGC Énergies, FO Énergie et Mines and FCE-CFDT – have called for a day of strike action and protests on 8