(January 2017) EPSU has sent a message of support to four members of the HVDSZ 2000 municipal and waste union who were sacked by their employer, FKFzrt. The four are part of a collective bargaining negotiating team and were paid by company as part of a normal arrangement but which the company now claims contravenes the law on independent unions. The union, supported by its confederation MASZSZ, has set up an online campaign backed by the Labourstart website.
(April 2017) Services union ver.di has negotiated a new framework agreement with the Veolia waste and environmental company which it sees as a landmark agreement in a sector which has seen a substantial erosion of collective bargaining coverage with intense wage competition. Around 4500 employees will be covered by the agreement which will include rules on working time, leave, additional payments and retirement and other social provisions.
(March 2017) The waste and environment section of the FNV trade union highlights the findings of a recent report that found more than a third of workers (34%) in the waste sector working on precarious contracts. The union stresses in particular that this raises serious safety issues. There are problems of ensuring that agency workers, for example, get all the appropriate protective clothing and appropriate training. The union also argues, as in a recent case, that precarious workers are more likely to be involved in workplace accidents, often taking too many risks in trying to show they are
(May 2016) The four main unions that organise in the public and private sector waste industry are planning to strike on 30 May. There are many elements to the unions' protest including the need to defend a sector agreement in the industry, to stop cuts in pay and jobs, to ensure public procurement is used to deliver quality services and to improve health and safety. Around 100000 workers are employed in the industry and the unions involved are FP-CGIL, Fit-Cisl, Uiltrasporti and Fiadel. Read more at FP-CGIL (IT)
(August 2016) The STAL local government union organised four days of industrial action at the Valorlis solid waste treatment company that operates in the Leiria district of central Portugal. The workers were on an overtime ban on 13, 14 and 15 August, followed by 24 hours of strike action on 16th. The union argues that shareholders in the privatised company have been benefitting from company profits while workers have been denied pay increases as the company claims it has had to follow government austerity measures. Read more at STAL (PT).
Pressure on the employer from a series of warning strikes at the Suez Süd waste company, enabled services union ver.di to secure a new pay agreement that runs until 31 December 2018. The first pay increase of 2% is backdated to 1 August this year and the next pay rise will be a further 2% from 1 August next year. There will also be two lump sum payments, one net payment of EUR 150 and one of EUR 125 gross. Apprentices will get an extra EUR 275 this year and EUR 150 next year.
Waste workers employed by Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in England, have won a new deal that will protect the pay of workers who were threatened with the loss of thousands of pounds in pay.
The FNV trade union has welcomed a new two-year agreement covering 7000 workers in the waste and environment sector. Pay will increase by 6% over the two years but with a EUR 900 flat-rate increase in the second year it will mean that lower paid workers will see wages rise by 7.5%. There is also a commitment to provide permanent contracts for 360 temporary workers, to reduce hours for older staff while taking on young workers and paid partner leave at the birth of a child will now be a minimum of four weeks. Private sector waste workers are covered by a separate (transport) three-year
The concept of Just Transition was at the heart of the discussion at the EPSU’s Utilities Standing Committee where decarbonisation and digitalisation of the European economy were deeply debated amongst members.
Public service workers across the UK have been involved in number of disputes over pay, jobs and safety. Waste workers in Birmingham and Doncaster are taking or planning action over pay and safety while cleaners at four hospitals in East London are continuting their campaign for a higher pay increase against outsourcing company Serco. Meanwhile in Sheffield members of the PCS civil service union are taking strike action in protest at the closure of a local Job Centre, part of a campaign against government proposals for closures across the country. Finally, janitors in schools across Glasgow
The STAL trade union reports a high level of support for strike action at the RESIESTRELA waste company part of the EGF multinational. The strike is over pay, a pay structure and the right to collective bargaining. The union says that workers at RESIESTRELA are the lowest paid in the EGF group with no developed pay or career structure. STAL has been raising these issues with EGF for many years but the company has refused to negotiate.