Government, trade unions and employers signed a new cross-sector agreement on 31 March that includes a wide range of provisions, among them three key points: adoption of the International Labour Organization Centenary Declaration on the Future of the World of Work; amendments to the Constitution covering the special role of social partnership in the regulation of social and labour relations; and the need to take into account the pandemic when formulating measures to protect workers. The agreement also highlights issues that need to be addressed in relation to public sector pay in order to
Collective Bargaining, Migration
Fighting for the rights of migrants and asylum-seekers
Migration has major implications for public services not least because of the significant contribution of migrant workers to the provision of public services in many European countries. Thousands of public service employees across Europe work in areas related to migrations and asylum-seeking. Unfortunately, the European and national response to asylum-seekers has often fallen pitifully short of what should be expected from one of the wealthiest regions in the world and EPSU has been arguing hard for a change of approach, criticising the European Union’s policies which continue to focus on tightening borders, pushing back refugees and outsourcing asylum duties to third countries. EPSU, along with PSI, has also been calling for an end to privatisation and increased public investment in the public services that are vital to ensure the safe and effective integration of migrants and asylum-seekers into society. This briefing, prepared for EPSU's 2019 Congress provides some background on EPSU's activities in this area.
The CSC/ACV and FGTB/ABVV trade union confederations are planning a day of protests and strikes on 29 March to push their claims in the stalled negotiations over the biennial agreement for the private sector. This follows two days of action in February in support of the unions’ demands to increase what they say is an unacceptable 0.4% margin for negotiations over and above what’s provided by indexation. The confederations are also calling for a higher minimum wage, action on careers and retirement and a review of the legislation that regulates pay negotiations in the private sector. The CGSLB
The government has put forward a proposal to set up a joint labour committee (JLC) that would determine minimum pay and working conditions for the childcare sector. Currently there is no sector bargaining covering childcare workers and unions have been campaigning for years to tackle low pay and precarious employment. JLCs are independent bodies that exist in sectors like security and cleaning where there is no sector bargaining. They issue employment regulation orders (ERO) setting minimum pay rates and conditions. SIPTU says that a JLC would provide an opportunity for the union and the IBEC
Trade unions have told the government that they reject any plans to end the single pay system across the public sector and strongly oppose any unilateral changes to pay or the creation of jobs and pay rates outside of the collective agreement. In response to government calls for more flexibility, the unions argue that there is already the potential for variable remuneration and adjustments to pay for specific jobs and occupations within the current system, but they are not used. The unions are also concerned that the government wants to treat certain public services differently and see this as
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.
The biennial cross-sector negotiations remain in stalemate with the employers refusing to budge on the 0.4% margin for negotiations. The confederations are arguing strongly that this is unacceptable and fails to recognise the differential impact of the pandemic across the economy and the need to acknowledge the additional risks faced by workers in dealing with the virus. A number of work stoppages and rallies took place across the country on 25 February to put pressure on the employers to come up with an improved offer.
Services union ver.di and the BVAP social care employers’ organisation have signed a collective agreement for the first time covering eldercare. The agreement will set minimum standards for the sector with a 25% increase over three years taking minimum pay for trained nurses to EUR 3180 a month. There will be minimum pay rates for nursing assistants, those with one year’s training and qualified nurses beginning at EUR 12.30, EUR 13.10 and EUR 16.10 an hour respectively from 1 August 2021. This will then rise in three further stages on 1 January 2022, 1 January 2023 and 1 June 2023 to reach EUR