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.
Oct. 09, 2019 Trade unions in the health sector are set to take joint strike action on 24 October unless there are positive developments in the sector negotiations that resume on 14 October. Some demonstrations have already taken place but the unions are concerned about the lack of progress on substantial questions such as funding, worsening conditions, excessive flexibility and overworks and staff shortages.
Oct. 09, 2019 Over 200 staff at the Schildautal hospital in Seesen in Lower Saxony took strike action on 4 October in defiance of threats from management that they would be dismissed. The hospital is owned by Asklepios, the second biggest private hospital group in Germany. The health union ver.di wants to negotiate a collective agreement that would bring pay in line with the public sector. However, the company not only refuses to negotiate but has threatened strikers with the sack and promised bonuses to strike breakers. The recent ver.di congress sent a message of solidarity to workers at the hospital.
Sep. 18, 2019
EPSU, Europe’s voice of 8 million pubic service unions is supporting the many actions to demand urgent actions of the UN Summit 23 September, from our governments and the European Commission and European Council.
Aug. 23, 2019 The GPA-djp private services union has strongly attacked the VKKJ organisation that provides care to disabled children for using an injunction to try to prevent its works councils from organising any kind of strike or protest to secure improvements in pay and conditions. The VKKJ has not signed up to the social services sector agreement and the works councils had successfully campaigned to bring pay at the organisation in line with that agreement but that's when VKKJ took the legal step. The union has offered to go to mediation but the employer has rejected this. The GPA-djp will strongly defend the case and the right to take action.
Aug. 21, 2019 Seven trade union organisations, including the CGT, CFDT, FO and UNSA, representing 85% of all firefighters have been taking strike action to demand improvements in pay and for a significant increase in jobs. The joint actions began in June and are running until the end of August. The unions want to see the withdrawal of legislation on public service reform and a number of other measures to improve pay, health and safety, pensions and trade union rights. A key demand is an increase in recruitment on statutory conditions. There are 40000 professional firefighters. This is the same number as in 2009 but callouts have increased by 15% since then.
Jul. 25, 2019 After three weeks of selective strike action in hospitals involving several public service unions, the government has used its powers to force an end to the action and refer the matter to a national labour tribunal which will meet in October. The strike was over pensions and ensuring that all hospital workers have a right to a pension from the first Krone earned. The government claimed a threat to health when the unions decided to step up the action. It has intervened in this way in the past, most recently in November 2018 in a dispute involving the NSF nurses' union (see epsucob@NEWS 22, 2018).
Jul. 11, 2019 Earlier this year the Council of Europe published its latest assessments of countries' compliance with its social charter and particularly article 6 on the right to strike. The report reveals that many continue to fail to conform with the requirements of the article and this is often related to significant restrictions on the right to strike particularly affecting public service workers. The latest list of countries not in conformity include: Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Malta, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain and the UK. Further details can be read in the relevant country factsheets which have been drafted by the ETUI and are available on the EPSU website.