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, Low pay/minimum wages
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.
After the third round of bargaining, the ver.di services union has secured a new 24-month agreement covering around 21,000 employees at the clinic operator Helios. There will be a 3.8% increase in total with a 1.4% rise in April this year, 2.0% in April 2022 and a further 0.4 percent in November 2022. Employees will also receive a EUR 400 corona bonus (trainees EUR 100) as well as an additional day off in recognition of the extra work during the pandemic. Working hours at the eastern German Helios locations will be reduced to the western level from January 1, 2023. A care allowance of EUR 100
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
The ETUC wants to get down to work on the minimum wage directive following the long-awaited opinion from the EU Council's legal service. The opinion confirms what the ETUC has been arguing all along that a directive is possible and legally based on the protection of working conditions (Article 153(1)(b) TFEU in conjunction with Article 153(2) TFEU). The ETUC is now calling on governments to deliver and work towards a directive that will make it possible “for workers on minimum wages to make ends meet, to pay the rent, to put food on the table for them and their families.” The ETUC added: “The
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
More than 24 million workers on low wages in the EU would get a pay rise if trade union proposals for the EU’s draft Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages are accepted. The ETUC is calling for a specific threshold to be included in the directive which would mean no statutory minimum wages could be set below 60% of the national median wage and 50% of the national average wage in each Member State that has a legal minimum wage. At the moment, the European Commission has only included the threshold in the draft directive as an indicative guide. ETUC Deputy General Secretary Esther Lynch said: “A