Low pay/minimum wages
Jun. 08, 2017 (June 2017) The ETF European federation for transport workers has reacted angrily to recommendatoins from the European Commission in its "Open and connected Europe" document on the so-called service continuity, including measures affecting the right to strike of air traffic control staff. The federation believes the measures infringe the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and says it reserves the right to challenge them in the European Court of Justice. The ETF is also highly critical of the mobility package launched by the European Commission last month, arguing against dangerous proposals on rest time which threaten to increase fatigue among drivers and increase risks of accidents.
Jun. 08, 2017 (June 2017) A new report from the CBS statistics office highlights three key trends in the labour market reflecting greater inequality and less security. Overall the percentage of workers on permanent contracts has fallen from 71% to 61% while the labour market is becoming more divided between low-paid, low-skilled jobs and high-paid work, with few jobs in the middle. The report also found more young people and those with basic education are stuck in low-paid jobs with little autonomy or security.
Jun. 08, 2017 (June 2017) Embassy, tourist office and other international staff around the world are taking strike action to secure pay rises and end a long-term pay freeze that has seen wages in some countries fall to below national minima. Unions are looking for a 20% pay increase, arguing that in some countries inflation has meant a 40% loss of purchasing power for some workers. Action has taken place or is planned in several countries including Canada, Sweden, the United States and Argentina.
May. 25, 2017 (May 2017) The OSZSP heath and social care union has called on the government to take immediate steps to increase pay for social care workers. The union argues that these workers are very badly paid for the responsible and demanding job they do. This is resulting in a recruitment crisis in the sector. The union wants to see the agreement to cut the two lowest pay rates on the social care pay scales implemented and for care workers to be covered by the health care salary structure.
May. 23, 2017
This year’s Country Specific Recommendations represent another missed opportunity to give the European economy a boost with a significant increase in public investment.
May. 11, 2017 (May 2017) The vpod public services union has highlighted the problem of gender pay inequality across occupations, noting that lower pay in occupations dominated by women, like care, cannot be justified on a gender-neutral basis and that they are the result of specific historical developments. The union cites new research from Essen University in Germany and argues that legislation that currently requires action by employers with over 50 employees should be amended to provide for an evaluation of occupational groups.
May. 09, 2017 (May 2017) The OSZSP health and social services union has launched a campaign to improve pay in the social services sector under the slogan "end cheap labour". The union has already had a meeting with the government where it highlighted staff shortages, excessive workloads and very low pay with some on as little as CZK 12000 a month (EUR 450). The union stresses that staff shortages are set to become more urgent as workers in the sector retire and there is increased demand from an older population.
Apr. 14, 2017 (April 2017) Municipal workers' union Kommunal has negotiated a year's extension to the three-year agreement which it negotiated last year with the SKL local government employers' organisation. The agreement provided for additional increases for nursing assistants and nurses as part of a strategy to close the gender pay gap. The basic increases in each of the four years 2016-2019 are SEK 520 (EUR 54), 530 (EUR 55), 535 (EUR 55.5) and 540 (EUR 56) while in the first and second years nursing assistants get 1020 (EUR 105) and 710 (EUR 75) while the third year includes 685 (EUR 70) for nurses. The fourth year provides for an additional 0.3% on top of the SEK 540.
Apr. 05, 2017 (April 2017) The BDDSz childcare workers' trade union is supporting the ETUC's pay rise campaign. The union sees that many of the headline demands of the campaign - tackling low pay and the gender pay gap - fit with the union's priorities and it is encouraging members to show their support.
Apr. 05, 2017 (April 2017) Beginning this month the municipal services union Kommunal will be investigating the employment and working conditions of cleaners, looking at their employment status, working hours as well as health and safety problems. The union will carry out a survey as well as making workplace visits to talk to workers and assess how they are affected by what are often seen as the main problems facing the sector - the impact of privatisation, lack of control over work - but also good examples where workers do have more control over working time and other working conditions.
Mar. 21, 2017 (March 2017 ) The vpod public services union has a special network set up four years ago campaigning for better protection for migrant care workers. The union argues that the federal government is well aware of the level of exploitation of this group of workers but has failed to take any measures to regulate this area of work. Recent press reports have highlighted the situation facing care workers and the lack of legal protection.
Mar. 21, 2017 (March 2017) The annual benchmarking report from the European Trade Union Institute provides an overview of latest developments in wages and collective bargaining. It notes a trend towards higher real wages, particularly in central and Eastern Europe, mainly as a result of low inflation. There has also been growth in minimum wages but most are still at a very low level. It also found that the decline in collective bargaining coverage continued and was very pronounced in southern and eastern European countries.
Mar. 21, 2017 (March 2017) Unions organising workers in the non-profit social services came together in a major demonstration in Brussels on 21 March. The unions want to see urgent action to tackle major problems facing the sector - poor pay, understaffing and excessive workloads leading to burnout for many workers trying to maintain services in impossible conditions. The unions want to negotiate a new agreement for the sector which addresses pay and working conditions but they also underline the link between quality employment and delivery of quality services. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Mar. 21, 2017 (March 2017) Public services union JHL is calling for an extra pay increase for sectors dominated by women. The union chair Päivi Niemi-Laine said:"We need a separate round on top of the general increase. Women-dominated sectors have been kept in check and now we have to ensure that purchasing power remains strong in women-led fields." The union argues that action needs to be taken to address the persistent gender pay gap and that public salaries are being effectively cut by a decision to reduce holiday pay as part of the competitiveness deal negotiated last year.