May. 08, 2020 Health trade unions have issued a joint statement reiterating their serious concerns about the failures in provision of safety equipment and testing for health workers who have been struggling to maintain services despite the risks they have been facing. The unions also warn that the situation with protective equipment and tests needs to be resolved before any major moves to de-confinement otherwise there would be a major risk of a second wave of infection. The joint statement contains a reaffirmation of the key demands of the unions that they have been campaigning around over the last two years including, revaluation of pay and jobs; increased funding; more training and increased recruitment; a stop on closure of facilities and guarantee of access to services for all.
Apr. 08, 2020 The impact of the crisis on health staff has been highlighted by public services trade unions as the evidence from the CFDT shows. The union is pushing for official recognition of COVID-19 as an occupational disease and for a fund to be set up to deal with the long-term effects. Trade unions are pushing hard for more personal protective equipment and the CGT has given a formal notice of potential strike action across the public services to allow its members to take action where they feel that there is a real threat to workers and citizens. Action has already been taken in the care sector, for example, by workers at a care home in Le Havre who have been overwhelmed by the catastrophic situation there. Meanwhile, the FO trade union has launched a general legal action challenging the failure to take adequate action to address the emergency and calling on those responsible to face up to the deaths and infections that have resulted. For UNSA, its calls for increased protection, particularly for health workers, have been echoed by the independent and influential Académie Nationale de Médecine.
Mar. 05, 2020 Trade unions have reacted angrily to the decision by the government to curtail debate over pension reforms by using a constitutional mechanism to pass legislation by ordonnance rather than the normal parliamentary process. Some unions organised demonstrations across the country at short notice to underline their continuing opposition to the reforms. Others were concerned about the method used to close down debate when there are still major issues still to be resolved, particularly in relation to pension for workers in arduous occupations.
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.
Jan. 09, 2020 Trade union action against the government’s pensions proposals has continued across several sectors, particularly transport. The latest main national mobilisation against pension reform took place on 9 January. While not all trade union organisations are involved in the strike action and demonstrations, all are opposed in some way to the plans to merge pension arrangements across sectors and increase the retirement age and/or increase the number of years of contributions needed for a full pension. There are particular concerns about arduous work in some sectors, like sewage treatment, where life expectancy is well below the national average.
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 Trade unions in many sectors took strike action and joined protests across the country on 5 December against proposals to reform the pensions system. There is widespread concern that the reforms will lead to later retirement to get decent pensions or retirement on lower benefits. Workers in the transport and education sectors are particularly concerned but the actions, including an 800,000-strong demonstration in Paris attracted wide support. Further action took place on 6 December and is planned for the coming weeks.
Dec. 06, 2019
The French government has proposed changes to the pension system in France. These changes face opposition of all French unions.
Nov. 19, 2019 Nine union organisations representing health and social care workers along with professional organisations and health campaign groups came together again on 14 November calling for urgent action to tackle the crisis in the health system. Along with demands for increased funding, unions were calling for immediate measures to deal with staff shortages and increased pay for all health and social care staff. EPSU sent a message of solidarity and a delegation, including trade unionists from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands joined the demonstration. Some unions have already made a call for further action on 5 December to coincide with a national protest over pensions.
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.
Oct. 24, 2019 Trade unions representing firefighters and health and social care workers mobilised across the country on 15 October as part of their continuing campaigns to defend jobs and services. The joint protests called for an end to privatisation, more funding for services and increased pay as proper recognition of the hardship and risks involved in these vital areas of public service. Further action is planned for 14 November.