Mar. 05, 2020 The SIPTU and Forsa trade unions organised strike action across publicly-funded (Section 39) health and social services organisations on 21 February as part of a long-running campaign to get workers' pay restored following the cuts that were implemented as part of austerity measures. Many of these workers do the same or similar jobs as directly employed public servants who have seen their pay restored. The threat of strike action lead to a deal for around 500 home care workers who suspended their action, but many other workers are continuing their campaign to try to secure an agreement.
Mar. 05, 2020 With many collective agreements now finalised in the private sector with a going rate of 3.3% over 25 months, attention is shifting to the public sector where unions are looking for higher pay deals for the lower paid and for health and care workers. TEHY and Super, the main unions representing health and social service workers are aiming for an additional 1.8% and a 10-year programme of increases above the average for the technology sector, which is seen as a key benchmark. The unions recognise that additional government funding will be needed to cover the pay increases. They also want a separate agreement to cover the 170000 health and social care workers that are currently part of the general municipal agreement.
Mar. 05, 2020 The vida and GPA-djp private services unions are planning further strike action and a national demonstration to keep up the pressure on health and social service employers to deliver on a 35-hour week. There have now been seven rounds of bargaining with the employers still failing to deliver an acceptable offer to the trade unions. The negotiations cover 125000 workers and vida and GPA-djp are calling for implementation of a 35-hour with no loss of pay and with appropriate increases in staffing. The national demonstration will take place on 10 March and next negotiations will be on 26 March.
Mar. 05, 2020 Members of the CNE and SETCA trade unions working at an eldercare home in Waterloo, south of Brussels, took strike action on 3 March to put pressure on management in advance of a conciliation meeting. The unions have been calling for action on staffing levels and say that currently employees are under so much pressure that they can only spend 16 minutes with each resident. Representatives of EPSU joined the picket. The home is run by the Orpea multinational and messages of solidarity were also sent from the ver.di union in Germany.
Feb. 21, 2020 The health and social service federations - CCOO-Sanidad and FeSP-UGT - are planning to mobilise workers in the care sector in March to put pressure on employers to negotiate a collective agreement. The unions will organise protests outside the head offices of the main companies in the sector highlighting the problems in relation to low pay, health and safety and inadequate staffing that face the 250,000 overwhelmingly women workers. The unions are also calling on the government to tackle underfunding of services and to ensure decent working conditions through procurement.
Feb. 20, 2020 The Forsa and SIPTU trade unions are continuing to protest and organise industrial action in long-running disputes involving their members in health, social and community services. Many workers in so-called Section 39 publicly-funded organisations provide health and social services but have been denied the kind of pay restoration provided to directly-employed public sector workers in these services. Meanwhile, community employment advisors took strike action on 14 February in the latest step in their campaign for the implementation of a 2008 Labour Court recommendation on their rights to occupational pensions. Selected strike action in Section 39 organisations was due to take place on 21 February.
Feb. 18, 2020 Thirteen trade union organisations and health campaigning groups came together on 14 February to strike and join demonstrations calling for urgent action on the funding and provision of health and social services. This follows the previous national action on 17 December (EPSU CB News 24, December 2019). The key demands are for an increase in funding, action on recruitment and training, recognition of the arduousness of work in the sector, a stop on closures of facilities, opening up governance of hospitals to workers and patients and ensuring equal access to quality services.
Feb. 18, 2020 The vida and GPA-djp private service unions will be coordinating further warning strikes on 26 and 27 February to put pressure on the employers in the negotiations covering 125000 workers in private health and social care. This follows the sixth round of bargaining which ended again without a concrete proposal from the employers. The unions are determined to press on with their central demand of a 35-hour week while maintaining pay and with an appropriate increase in staffing.
Feb. 03, 2020 The collective agreement covering workers providing disability care has new elements to improve work-life balance. There is an annual hours system based on a 36-hour week for a full-time worker. This alllows for flexibility to help address peaks and troughs in the service but on the basis that employers have to abide by clear rules in both the collective agreement and legislation. Workers in the sector can also now look to the collective agreement to assert their right not to be contactable during their time off. The FNV trade union sees this as an essential measure to tackle increasing stress and burnout in the sector.
Feb. 03, 2020 The ver.di services union has welcomed a major improvement in minimum wages in the care sector agreed by the joint care sector committee that recommends rates for implementation by the labour ministry. With higher increases for Eastern regions, it means that there will be single rates for the whole country by September 2021. The rate for non-qualified workers will rise to EUR 11.35 this year and to EUR 12.55 by 2022. The rate for those with two-years' training will rise to EUR 13.20 and a new rate for those with three years' training will be introduced in 2021 at EUR 15 and rise to EUR 15.40 by 2022. The union underlines that it is aiming for further improvements for workers in elder care in the current negotiations with employers for a collective agreement to cover this sector for the first time.
Jan. 08, 2020 The vpod/ssp public services has welcomed two initiatives on working time agreed with the BSH health and social care employers' organisation in the Graubünden/Grisons region. The BSH has agreed to the demand for time taken to change into and out of work clothes to be recorded as working time. This is a key demand in a national campaign being run by the union. Ten minutes a day is allocated to changing clothes but this may be adjusted depending on the outcome of a legal case in the Zürich region. The vpod/ssp also welcomes the decision of BSH to recommend a minimum of 25 days' annual leave to its member organisations, a move which the union sees as important in helping the sector address staff shortages.
Jan. 06, 2020 Seven care workers, supported by the Fagforbundet public services union, have won a significant court case that rules they were wrongly classified as self-employed and so were denied the rights of employees. The workers took the case against the Baos private care company and their claim covers the wide range of benefits and rights that they should have been entitled to under the Work Environment Act. These cover paid holidays, overtime pay, working time, sick pay, pensions and other issues. The ruling means the company will have to pay the seven workers around NOK 5.5m (EUR 560000) to compensate for the lost rights. The union sees this as an important ruling for the private care sector where the practice of categorising workers as "self-employed" has become widespread.