The Atomprofspilka nuclear energy union organised a major demonstration outside the office of the Cabinet of Ministers on 4 December in protest at the failure of the government to address union demands for information about the strategy for the industry. The union is concerned about recent developments including the cancellation of projects that are creating doubts about jobs and the future development of the sector. Protests have also taken place in other key cities and camps set up where nuclear workers stay in tents when not at work to demonstrate their determination to get a reaction to
Members of four health unions in Northern Ireland - UNISON, RCN, NIPSA and Unite - have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action, including strike action, to force the government to address pay inequality which leaves them the worst paid health employees in the UK. The unions also want urgent action to tackle staff shortages and to ensure safe and effective staffing levels.EPSU sent messages of solidarity. The unions are involved in a range of different actions but are planning a coordinated strike on 18 December.
Public service unions joined the national protest on 27 November calling for action to defend and improve sickness absence rules. Under the slogan "sick workers are not criminals" the Podkrepa confederation called for workers to be covered by sick pay from the first day of absence and for a range of other measures on sick leave and working time. Meanwhile on the same day social workers from the administrative services union in Podkrepa took an hour's strike action calling for a 40% pay increase.
After a 12-year wait the three unions in private health care - FP CGIL, CISL FP and UIL FPL - are making some progress in negotiating a new collective agreement with the employer organisations - AIOP and ARIS. Meetings at the end of November and beginning of December addressed issues related to weekly rest periods, training leave, disciplinary procedures and criteria for transferring workers to other jobs. Further meetings are planned for 10, 17 and 18 December with a focus on job classification, where there have been major changes over the long period since the last agreement was negotiated.
The ETUI has published data on strike activity across Europe, including an interactive strike map that provides details on total number of days not worked per 1000 workers. Information on each country also includes the frequency of strikes and total number of workers involved. Detailed information on the right to strike was published earlier this year by EPSU in country factsheets that were coordinated for EPSU by the ETUI.
Local government unions have negotiated a new agreement with the SKR and Sobona employer organisations that will deliver greater employment security for workers. The agreement will take effect on 1 May 2020 and will mean early identification of workers impacted by restructuring and who need training to help assist in gaining new skills and adapting to new jobs. The unions see this as key to avoiding lay-offs and essential for the rapid changes that are taking place in the labour market. Fixed-term workers will be covered by the agreement as will those off sick or going through rehabilitation.
A new report by VIVE, the Danish Centre for Social Science Research, provides further confirmation that pay inequality is a major structural problem facing the public services and particularly the care and social service sectors. The research shows that average wages in a sector fall as the proportion of women workers rises and that an annual average salary of DKK 30000 in a sector dominated by men falls to DKK 24150 in a sector dominated by women. Public services unions FOA, BUPL, SL and the cartel of health unions managed to negotiate a specific fund to tackle pay inequality in the 2018
Trade unions in many sectors took strike action and joined protests across the country on 5 December against proposals to reform the pensions system. There is widespread concern that the reforms will lead to later retirement to get decent pensions or retirement on lower benefits. Workers in the transport and education sectors are particularly concerned but the actions, including an 800,000-strong demonstration in Paris attracted wide support. Further action took place on 6 December and is planned for the coming weeks.
The International Labour Organisation has produced a new report that examines the scope of collective bargaining in public administration. Along with specific country examples, including Denmark and Spain, from Europe, the report looks at recent developments and the extent to which collective bargaining covers issues such as information and consultation, dispute resolution measures, facilities for trade unions, gender equality and decent work. As one of the conclusions the report notes that fewer and fewer governments are excluding pay from collective bargaining.
The Social Dialogue Committee of Local and Regional Governments adopts its New Work Programme 2020 – 2022
On November 27, the Social Dialogue Committee of Local and Regional Governments met in Brussels to discuss the past mandate and to adopt the new work programme for the next three years (2020 – 2022).
On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, EPSU organized a campaign to promote a health and safe environment in the world of work, through the ratification of the Istanbul and the ILO 190 Conventions.