Oct. 23, 2020 22 October saw public services union ver.di involved in two major negotiations. The third round of bargaining covering municipal and federal employees was underway with ver.di underlining the importance of a decent settlement in recognition of the work carried out by public service workers during the current pandemic. The union expects the employers to continue to stress the problems facing public finance and to push for a long-term deal with small pay increases. Ver.di mobilised through warning strikes and online action in the lead up to the negotiations. Meanwhile, negotiations covering 50000 employees of the German Red Cross got underway with ver.di calling for a 5.5% increase in a 12-month agreement with a minimum increase of EUR 150 a month. The union wants additional payments for emergency service staff and care workers and a 35% bonus for anyone working with COVID-19 patients. Verdi is also calling for an end to the practice of working additional hours with no extra pay.
Oct. 23, 2020 Latest data indicate that average salaries in healthcare across the country for the first six months of 2020 were 9% higher than for the same period in 2019.The healthworkers' union says that special payments for working with COVID-19 patients has contributed to this bearing in mind that many healthworkers would not be on full pay because of sickness or isolation measures. However, the union has made it clear to the government that there have been problems with ensuring the extra payments apply to all hours worked and that any change to the payments system has to guarantee the COVID bonus for any additional hours, including for part-time workers.
Oct. 23, 2020 The OSZSP health union reports that it has secured a commitment from the government for a 10% pay increase for health and social care workers. However, in discussions with the health ministry the union had to intervene on the state budget to ensure that funding was available to hospitals to cover the pay increase. In contrast, the government is arguing that its changes to income tax rules will increase take-home pay for workers and so it is planning to freeze pay for other public service workers and is even using the change to argue for pay freezes in the private sector.
Oct. 21, 2020 The FNV, NU'91 and other health unions have welcomed the decision by the health minister to support their demands on personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and social care staff. The unions have been calling since March for workers to be able to decide when they need to use PPE and to have the appropriate equipment available. The unions had criticised the guidance from the RIVM public health institute which left discretion to employers and which, unions believed, had been drawn up with the scarcity of equipment in mind. The unions' approach puts this discretion in the hands of care workers and a statement to that effect has already been circulated by some employers in the care sector.
Oct. 09, 2020 The SEP nurses' union organised a protest outside the prime minister's office on 8 October as part of its long-running campaign to secure improvements to the system of career development and promotion. The union wants to see promotion opportunities unfrozen and on the basis of a range of measures that, among other things, properly recognise past work experience. The union also has several specific demands on classification of certain jobs. The union argues that these measures are even more important than any promise of bonuses. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Oct. 09, 2020 The national agreement on increased funding for health and social care, including increases to workers' pay has failed to meet all the key trade union demands. The unions are particularly concerned that the so-called " Ségur de Santé" (named after the street in which the Ministry of Health is based) does not ensure that all health and social care workers across the public, private and non-profit sectors will benefit in the same way. There is also continuing frustration that nothing has been done to tackle understaffing, excessive workloads and low pay specifically in social services. This is the main focus of the CGT strike and national day of action planned for 15 October. The CFDT is planning strike action on 13 October while FO will strike on 5 November unless the ministry of health commits to ensuring all health and social care workers benefit equally from the agreement.
Oct. 08, 2020 Public service unions may be involved in new industrial action in two long-running disputes unless the government intervenes. The Forsa trade union has already set dates for strike action to try to resolve the two-tier pay system affecting school secretaries. Following the announcement of the action the government has made a commitment to address the problem but the union wants to see concrete proposals before it calls off the action. Meanwhile, Forsa is joined by SIPTU and INMO in considering a campaign of targeted action across non-profit providers of health and social services - Section 39 organisations. An agreement last year secured pay rises for workers in these bodies in a process to restore pay after the cuts imposed during austerity. Some of these organisations are now saying they don't have the funds to implement the increases and the unions want the government to step in.