Jun. 03, 2020 When prime minister Sophie Wilmès visited the Saint-Pierre hospital in Brussels earlier this month she was met by rows of health workers with their backs turned. This reflected the growing anger among health workers about the failure of the government to deal with the pressing needs of the sector in terms of funding, staffing and personal protective equipment. Health trade unions are also angry about the two decrees (see CB News 9) on assistants carrying out nursing duties and requisitioning staff. Unions have issued official strike declarations in response to the failure to have a proper social dialogue on these key issues
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. 18, 2020 Strike action, a major demonstration, political support and international solidarity have combined to bring the Ameos health company to the negotiating table. Members of the ver.di services union have been on strike to get a collective agreement and the reinstatement of 14 colleagues who were sacked at the end of last year by the management of Ameos in the Saxony-Anhalt region. International solidarity was channelled through a labourstart campaign with over 6300 signatures calling on the company to negotiate. The strike action has now been suspended to allow time for negotiations which were due to start on 20 February.
Feb. 03, 2020 Workers at the Ameos private, for-profit health company in the Saxony-Anhalt region are taking strike action despite the aggressive intimidation of the company's management. The union wants to negotiate a collective agreement which links workers' pay and conditions to the public sector agreement. Not only have management refused to negotiate but they sacked 14 trade union activists before Christmas and are threatening a further 800 job cuts if the union contnues its campaign. EPSU joined with ver.di in launching a labourstart campaign, targeting the company management.
Dec. 18, 2019 Health and social care unions were again joined by hospital campaigning groups in a major national mobilisation on 17 December, following earlier days of strikes and protests in October and November (see EPSU CB News No.22, November and No.19, October). The campaign is highlighting the catastrophic situation in many health institutions as a result of underfunding. The key demands include increased funding and recruitment, a general increase in salaries and an immediate block on closures of health facilities. The protests combined with the continuing mobilisation against planned pension reforms.
Dec. 06, 2019 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.
Dec. 05, 2019 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.
Nov. 21, 2019 The FNV, NU'91 and other unions representing hospital workers organised the first ever day of national industrial action in the sector on 20 November. Workers in 119 institutions took part, delivering the equivalent of a Sunday service but maintaining emergency provision. The unions are trying to put pressure on the employers to deliver a new collective agreement that addresses pay, workloads, pensions and work-life balance issues. There was also a national event in Utrecht where a petition was delivered to the head of the employers' organisation. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
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. 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 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.