Services union ver.di has successfully fought off attempts by the Nord Residenz care company to shut down the works council. On 27 April, the regional labour court in Bremen in North West Germany ruled against the company’s attempts to dismiss the works council chair and her deputy, expel them from the works council and dissolve the works council itself. Nord Residenz is owned by the French multinational Orpea. Ver.di welcomed the many messages of solidarity support from trade unions across Europe and interventions by the state government and mayor of Bremen. Meanwhile, the union faces a major
Working Time, Restructuring, Outsourcing
The impact of the pandemic has led to restructuring of some care homes in the Brussels region where employers are arguing that declining occupation rates and costs of anti-COVID measures are making some homes unviable. The Armonea (Colisée) group has announced plans to close one facility (Sebrechts) with the loss of 108 jobs while unions at the Senior Living Group, part of the Korian multinational, are looking at ways to avoid compulsory redundancies with a range of measures. The unions at the Sebrecht care home have issued a strike notice and there is determination to fight what is seen as a
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 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
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
The OSYE prison services union took six days of strike action at the end of February and beginning of March over key demands on safety and staffing. The union is particularly concerned about staff on long working hours and the massive backlog of rest days and holidays that are owed to workers who have done extra shifts to compensate for understaffing. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
A new study of the impact of the pandemic in social care in eight countries reveals the problems faced by social care workers and the extent to which trade union action has helped to address issues around personal protective equipment (PPE), sick pay, working time and understaffing. There has been a shortage of PPE in all countries, but it was only in Sweden that a trade union had to take legal action for its members' right to use personal protective equipment. Increased overtime was a challenge in all countries but with split shifts being a particular problem in Sweden. The pandemic exposed
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
The FOA trade union, as part of a joint negotiating committee of public service unions, has submitted the main bargaining demands to employers in municipal and regional government with the focus on tackling low pay and pay inequality. The aim is for a flat rate pay increase that will be more beneficial to lower paid workers along with funding to reduce the pay inequalities suffered by occupations dominated by women. The unions also want to ensure a real pay increase that will protect purchasing power over the three years of the agreement that is set to run from 1 April 2021. Other demands
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