Union Rights, Work-life balance
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.
Respect for trade union rights, collective bargaining and social dialogue part of our democratic values – say North East European constituency unions
The EPSU affiliates of North East Europe expressed their concerns about developments in the region in the online meeting of the North East European constituency on 3 March. They received information about the situation in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine.
After the surge in remote working as a result of the pandemic, trade unions in Ireland, Russia and Spain have welcomed new initiatives, including legislation and collective agreements, that regulate telework. Research by the Eurofound research agency also looks into the negative and positive implications of telework for workers’ autonomy and work-life balance raising again the challenges to ensure that workers have control over their working time and underlining the importance of current discussions at European level on the right to disconnect.
The ambiguous effects of telework In 2017, a joint report from the Eurofound research agency and the International Labour Organization observed that advances in digital technology were making it easier to work anytime and anywhere. The phenomenon of telework and mobile work has been increasing
The government has imposed compulsory arbitration in a dispute between unions representing health and care staff in the private and non-profit sector and the NHO employers’ organisation. The unions were taking strike action in support of their demand for higher pay rates that would bring pay in line with comparable collective agreements in health and care. The NHO was refusing to negotiate and then the national health board intervened claiming that the dispute was posing a danger to life and health. Each side will now present evidence to an independent wages board whose decision will then be
Thirty-six representatives of EPSU affiliates from 17 countries took part in an online working group on 12 January to discuss the European Commission’s draft directive on adequate minimum wages. This was the third working group meeting following the launch of the Commission’s initiative in January 2020.
The FPSU trade union confederation coordinated protests and picketing outside the parliament on 2-3 December as part of its long-running campaign against legislation that is set to seriously curtail trade union and worker rights. The legislation has been attacked by international trade union bodies and criticised by the International Labour Organisation. The legislative process has also involved the repeal of many laws on health and safety. At the same time, unions are calling on changes to the state budget to ensure increases in the minimum wage and state pension as well as action to address
More than 12,000 members of the DSR nursing union took part in a consultation over what should be the main demands in the upcoming collective bargaining negotiations in the public sector. The DSR has selected the main elements focusing on higher pay and better protection of leisure time. The union will aim for as large a percentage wage increase as possible that would recognise the large increase in workload and demands for flexibility during the pandemic and the need to recruit and retain health staff. The DSR recognises, however, the pressure on public finances and the impact of the formula
The FNV and NU'91 trade unions have negotiated a new collective agreement that provides for a 3% pay increase for workers in maternity care. The last collective agreement actually expired on 1 January this year but bargaining has been difficult not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic but also because the unions are looking for key improvements on work-life balance and on-call time which the employers are reluctant to agree. As a result the agreement is only for this calendar year. It also includes a 1.5% increase on the end-of-year bonus taking from 6.2% to 7.7% of salary and there is a one