The STAL municipal union has joined with the FIEQUMETAL industrial union in a series of public “tribunals” to denounce the EGF/Mota&Engil waste and construction company. The unions’ aim is to expose the poverty wages paid by the company and its failure to enter into a proper process of collective bargaining. The joint action started in Coimbra in central Portugal on 12 July, moving on to Guimarães in the north of the country on 20 July with further events planned for 26 July and 2 August. The two unions argue that the company is denying them the right to collective bargaining while maintaining
Waste, Working Time, Strike
Local government union HK Kommunal has welcomed the decision by Solrød Municipality, south west of Copenhagen, to give their employees in administration the opportunity work a four-day week. Workers will have the choice whether they want to show up at the office, work from home or take a full day off. The only requirement is that they still have a working week of 37 hours. The municipality argues that it will help recruit and retain competent staff. The scheme starts from 1 September and will run over the next two years. The initiative follows that of the Odsherred Municipality, north west of
The GMB energy and general union declared an end to the long and bitter dispute with British Gas over its aggressive policy of firing and rehiring workers. GMB members voted three to one to accept a new deal. Around 7,000 British Gas engineers staged 44 days of strike action after the company threatened to sack them if they didn’t sign up to detrimental changes to their terms and conditions. The new deal offers improvements to overtime rates and unsocial hours payments, places limits on the amount of unsocial working undertaken, reverses the decision to close the defined benefit pension scheme
The CNE/CSC trade union has strongly criticised health sector employers for failing to sign five key collective agreements to improve working conditions. The agreements have been negotiated following the major social agreement signed last year which allocated more than EUR 1 billion to the sector. A new salary structure has been in place since 1 July in the federal health sectors and many health staff have seen a significant increase in pay, some over 10%. However, the employers have since failed to sign agreements covering stabilisation of work schedules and employment contracts (including
Trade unions in the electricity and waste sectors reported very high levels of support for their industrial action and protests on 30 June. The unions want article 177 of the procurement code to be deleted as they argue that it requires widespread outsourcing across their sectors, posing a major threat to jobs and working conditions. They say that if the article is not deleted there will be increasing fragmentation of these industries and it will undermine initiatives towards a circular economy and low carbon energy sector. Meanwhile, the three main confederations have also been mobilising to
The FNV trade union’s campaign for urgent action on workloads in childcare has been stepped up with some regional mobilisations cancelled in order to concentrate on a national strike on 8 July. The union is angry that calls for increased staffing and reduced numbers of children per worker have fallen on deaf ears and the employers have offered nothing to address the problem.
Health unions believe that a new agreement on flexible working will help create a better work-life balance for many employees and improve recruitment. However, they also underline the importance of increasing staffing levels to ensure that the agreement can be fully implemented. The new contractual terms will allow staff to: request flexible working from the start of their employment (removing the requirement to have six months’ service); make an unlimited number of applications for flexible working, instead of just one a year; submit applications without having to justify requests or provide
Municipal workers’ union Kommunal has welcomed new provisions in the crisis agreement negotiated with local and regional government employers. The agreement can be activated temporarily by the employers and was originally developed to deal with large forest fires but has been extended to any major crises such as floods, fires, electricity supply cuts or pandemics. The new agreement applies from 1 July and now limits how long an individual can be assigned to the agreement to ensure a proper recovery period. The main changes include: an employer may only activate the agreement if there is a need
Following the rejection of the mediation proposal last month, nurses have continued their strike action for higher pay. The DSR nursing union membership voted to reject the public sector deal negotiated earlier this year because it failed to address low pay in the sector. The union has been highlighting recent data to support their case including a fall in applications for nursing education to the lowest level since 2013. The union also found that 5% of nurses had left the profession last month because of low pay and overwork and that pay for overtime had cost employers over DKK 500 million in
The Fórsa public service union is urging its members to back the four-day week campaign by signing up to a global petition to encourage employers to pilot a four-day working week. The initiative seeks to identify and recruit employers to trial a shorter working week without loss of pay or productivity. The aim will be to reach out to employers identified with significant employee support and encourage them to join the global pilot in 2022. Participating employers will receive the support of experts from the four-day week organisation and university researchers from Harvard, Oxford and Boston
Workers at the national water company, AdP, took strike action on 11 June over pay and long-standing problems with working conditions. The STAL trade union reported very high levels of support for the action with workers angry that company profits and investments have been increased while the situation for employees has deteriorated. The union is call for a €90 pay increase and minimum wage of €850; new measures on careers and professional development that value and recognize the knowledge, experience and commitment of workers; a progressive reduction of working hours to 35 hours a week
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.
Public sector unions have negotiated a wage settlement with the Virke employers’ organisation that includes private and non-profit companies delivering public services. The deal is in line with the settlement in the government sector, with a 2.7% pay increase but with a flat rate payment of NOK 1,500 (EUR 145) at all salary levels, backdated to 1 May. In addition, there is NOK 4,000 (EUR 390) for the lower paid and an equal pay supplement starting at NOK 3,800 (EUR 370) and falling by NOK 200 (EUR 20) for each move up the salary scale. A further 1.8% is set aside for local negotiations, with
After action earlier in the month across health services, more action has taken place across the public service. On 15 June, there were strikes and mobilisations by workers in national ministries as well as by civil servants in the directorate of interdepartmental roads. In the former the main focus was on pay and the declining purchasing power of civil service salaries while in the latter the main concern was a decentralisation of the directorate to regional government. The union’s concern was about the impact of the decentralisation on staff with no guarantees on jobs and pay. Meanwhile