2019 November EPSU Collective Bargaining News 21
IN THIS ISSUE
- Spain: Care workers fight for better conditions and services
- Netherlands: Overwhelming support builds for hospital strike
- UK: Unions call for 10% pay rise for local government workers
- Austria: Workloads feature in public sector negotiations
- Norway: Unions secure pensions and pay improvements for health workers
- Germany: Union condemns health company's anti-strike actions
- France: Health, social care and finance ministry workers take action
- Ukraine: Thousands protest over education spending and workers' pay
- Spain: Health union mobilises for action on pay system
- Europe: ETUC highlights benefits of work-life balance directive
- Italy: Federations set out joint demands for public administration renewal
- Switzerland: Health and social care workers plan for strike action
- UK: Unions strike over outsourcing
Nov. 05, 2019 Care workers in the Basque region are engaged in long-term struggles to secure better pay and conditions and higher quality services for the elderly. Members of the ELA trade union working in residential care in Gipuzkoa province are set to take another 31 days of strike action from 11 November to 11 December, taking the total number of days to 149. Meanwhile the ELA, LAB, UGT and USO unions in Bizkaia province are coordinating action in home care. This follows 27 days of strike action in 2018 and a dozen days in 2017 in a campaign to end a seven-year pay freeze, improve health and safety and impose limits on flexibility.
Nov. 05, 2019 The leadership of the Fp Cgil, Cisl Fp, Uil Fpl and Uil Pa public service federations held a joint meeting on 30 October to discuss their main proposals for renewal of public administration. They welcomed the willingness of the new government to engage in dialogue but underlined the need to invest the necessary resources. The key demands focus on the renewal of collective agreements, an urgent plan to recruit new workers, measures to reduce precarious employment and the implementation of a new job classification system. The unions stressed that the government needed to adjust the budget to address these issues.
Nov. 05, 2019 Workers at the Schildautal hospital in Seesen in Lower Saxony are continuing their strike action to secure a collective agreement despite management's aggressive anti-strike measures (see EPSU Collective Bargaining News 19, October). Public services union ver.di has condemned the hospital owners, Askeplios, for failing to agree a minimum service agreement, threatening workers with the sack and offering strike-breaking bonuses. Further action was taken on 1 November despite the employer's intimidation and on the basis of the union's own proposal for minimum service.
Nov. 05, 2019 Health unions FNV and NU'91 report that very high levels of support are building for the first ever national hospital strike set for 20 November. The unions initially expected action to be organised in around half of hospitals and clinics but the level of anger among workers means that strike action in non-urgent services is being planned in over 90% of institutions. The unions are looking for a 5% pay increase for 2019 and additional payments for workers who are called in to work at short notice (see EPSU Collective Bargaining News 20, October).
Nov. 06, 2019 Public service unions younion and GÖD have taken part in the first two rounds of bargaining in the annual pay negotiations. The key data for the negotiations were agreed as an inflation rate of 1.7% and economic growth of 1.5%-1.7%. The unions are looking for a clear increase in purchasing power for all public sector workers along with recognition of the staffing situation with concerns around workers facing heavy workloads and precarious employment conditions. The employers made no pay offer in the second bargaining round on 5 November. The next negotiations take place on 15 November.
Nov. 07, 2019 The three main trade unions in local government - UNISON, GMB and Unite - came together to lobby employers in advance of negotiations on pay. The unions' pay claim is for an increase of 10% and a minimum pay rate of £10 an hour (€11.60). They are also calling for a two hour reduction in the working week (with no loss of pay), one extra day of annual leave and the ending of the freeze on allowances. The unions argue that local government workers have seen a 22% cut in pay in real terms over the last 10 years.
Nov. 07, 2019 Research by the ETUC reveals that parents in seven EU member states will benefit from new rights as a result of the work-life balance directive that was adopted by the European Council in June. However, this will depend on national governments properly implementing the legislation over the next three years. Fathers in Italy, Croatia and Slovakia are set to receive paid paternity leave around the birth of a child for the first time ever while the directive should at least double the length of paid paternity leave in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania.
Nov. 07, 2019 Following protest actions on 5 November, health and social care workers in the Vaud canton (region) are planning a strike on 5 December to ensure that all workers in all sectors covered by the regional health collective agreement get a pay rise and benefit from an increased minimum wage. The unions, including the ssp/vpod public services union, are concerned that the employers want to restrict pay increases to certain occupations.
Nov. 07, 2019 On 29 October thousands of people took part in a protest rally outside parliament to call for urgent action in the education sector. The demonstration was supported by EPSU affiliate the Trade Union of the National Ukrainian Academy of Science. The wide range of demands included a call for an increase in education spending to 7% of GDP, implementation of approved pay scales and an increase in the sector minimum wage and action to prevent teacher dismissals, transfer to fixed-term contracts and increases in working hours.
Nov. 07, 2019 Following the national protests and strike action on 8 and 15 October, health and social care trade unions are building for the next national day of action on 14 November. The unions are calling for increased funding for health and social services and measures to increase staffing and improve the pay and conditions of workers in the sectors. On the same day unions representing workers in the finance ministry and customs will be protesting over plans for major restructuring that poses a threat to jobs and services.
Nov. 07, 2019 The CCOO-Sanidad health federation organised a national mobilisation on 6 November to put pressure on the national health service to deliver on reforming the pay system that covers around 500,000 workers. The union wants to see major changes in the pay structure on the basis of a professional qualification framework that recognises the skills and competences of a wide range of occupations. It argues that this is necessary to establish appropriate salary levels that should provide higher pay for many health workers.
Nov. 07, 2019 Members of the PCS civil service union are continuing their long-running campaign for union recognition at the Interserve outsourcing company which provides maintenance and cleaning services at the Foreign Office. Four further days of strike action were planned for 7, 8, 11 and 12 November. Meanwhile members of the UNISON public service union are planning two days of strike action at three hospitals run by the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust. Around 1000 cleaners, caterers, porters, security and estates staff are threatened with outsourcing as part of a national trend in the health sector to set up wholly-owned subsidiaries. UNISON is campaigning against the initiative.
Nov. 07, 2019 Unions in the health sector, including Fagforbundet, YS and unions represented by LO-Stat, are celebrating a positive ruling by the National Wages Board. The ruling means that pensions will now be based on all earnings which ensures that part-time workers will be entitled to pensions for the first time. The Board also endorsed the pay rise that ensures that all workers benefit from an increase already agreed for nursing staff. The unions' strike action had been brought to a halt in the summer when the government claimed it posed a threat to health and referred the matter to the National Wages Board.