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
Collective Bargaining, Local government
Collective bargaining – trends and developments
Collective bargaining is a core activity of trade unions and EPSU’s affiliates negotiate with public service employers at every level. This can range from national public-sector wide bargaining to sector and local negotiations with public sector employers but also private and non-profit providers of public services. EPSU works with the European Trade Union Confederation to try to improve collective bargaining rights for all workers across Europe. We also act as a European information point so that EPSU affiliates are aware of trends in public service negotiations. EPSU’s collective bargaining newsletter provides regular updates on developments across Europe and this briefing gives an overview of the state of play in the main agreements in each country.
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
Six trade unions are coming together to take strike action over jobs and precarious employment in the public sector in the Basque region. The unions are responding to the failure of the regional government to address public employment and the persistently high levels of temporary contracts across the public sector. Action is planned for 22 April across all the main public services – municipalities, health, education, general administration, justice, public transport, public media and other sectors. The unions want to see the thousands of temporary workers who have been crucial to tackling the
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.
Members of the DSR nurses’ union have voted to reject the proposed collective agreement for 2021-23 negotiated for local and regional government. The voting process is currently being carried out in other public sector unions and the full result won’t be know until around 21 April. The DSR argues that nurses have been left behind in terms of pay when taking account of their level of education, responsibilities and tasks. Furthermore, the pandemic has meant extensive extra work for a great many nurses and the increased wage costs have had a negative impact as a result of the regulation scheme
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 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.
Public services union Fórsa has asked the government to open negotiations over an agreement on remote working. The union notes that there have been some positive outcomes from the recent increase in telework as a result of the pandemic, but an agreement is needed to regulate what could be a long-term shift in the organisation of work across the public sector. Fórsa has set out some key elements for the agreement which include, among others: agreed guidelines for identifying functions that can be performed remotely; fair access and the right to request remote work; right to decline remote work
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
Public sector unions remain angry that the government has not only failed to implement a pay rise that was set in legislation last year but also refused to engage in social dialogue. This anger has been further fed by anti-union comments from the prime minister who has challenged the independence of public sector unions, their right to collect dues by check-off and their right to protest. Unions are considering further protests. EPSU has sent letters of protest to the prime minister and raised the issue with the European Commission as the behaviour of the Romanian government clearly flies in
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.
Public sector unions have been active in protests against the government’s refusal to abide by legislation and implement a pay increase for public sector workers. They are also challenging the government for its failure to agree to any social dialogue with the unions and are concerned about possible cuts to bonuses and holiday allowances. Health workers took action in January and other public service workers continued the protests through February and are now considering what further action to take. The Publisind federation that includes the SNPP police and prison officers’ union have also