Union Rights, Staffing levels
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.
Following their strike action on 9 December last year, the four unions that organise in public administration – Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp, Uil-Fpl and Uil-Pa – are continuing to mobilise to secure a new collective agreement and for investment in the modernisation of the sector. The unions are calling for action on staffing not just to increase recruitment overall but also to reduce the extent of precarious contracts and to improve and increase the provision of training. Furthermore, they want measures in place to guarantee workers’ safety in view of the persistence of the pandemic.
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
Workers in the SEPE public employment services are set to take two days of strike action in March to demand urgent action to address understaffing and overwork. The workers are represented by the FAC-USO public service union which has written to the Minister of Labour warning of the exhaustion faced by staff who have faced the massive increase in work over the past year in dealing with additional benefit payments and processes related to ERTE company restructuring schemes. So far, the ministry has acknowledged the problem of staffing but has not proposed a concrete solution. The union
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 SEP nurses’ union took part in a week of action (7-11 December) coordinated by the CGTP trade union confederation. For the SEP the key issues are precarious employment, recruitment and working time. The union wants to see all nurses on precarious contracts switched to permanent employment and argues that all nurses, regardless of contract, should accumulate points for their career progression. The SEP is also calling for increased recruitment, an end to 12-hour shifts and action to ensure a 35-hour week. Meanwhile, workers employed by the EGF waste company handed in a petition to the