On 13 July all nine trade union federations in the public service signed a new agreement on telework covering the whole of the public sector. The framework agreement requires employers across the three pillars of the public sector – local authorities, ministries and hospital services – to begin negotiations to implement the agreement at local level by 31 December this year. The agreement covers all the key issues relating to the voluntary nature and reversibility of telework, health and safety, gender equality, data security and privacy and working time and the right to disconnect. The
Precarious employment, Digitalisation, Tax justice
The Fagforbundet public service union is celebrating an important victory in the appeal court for 22 of its members in a case taken against the Stendi (formerly Aleris) care company. The ruling means that the workers were falsely categorised as “consultants” rather than employees and so were denied key employment rights such as holiday and pension entitlement. The union believes that the judgement will have important implications for the private care sector and is urging the NHO employers’ organisation to ensure that its members note the ruling and end the practice of classifying some workers
The ver.di services union has negotiated a collective agreement on digitalisation that will cover 126000 workers in the federal government and come into effect on 1 January 2022. It will be applied whenever there are significant changes in workplace requirements or conditions as a result of digitalisation. The union argues that the agreement will allow workers to benefit from the digitalisation process while protecting them from possible risks. It includes mechanisms for securing jobs and providing necessary training while guaranteeing wages. Employees whose job effectively disappears as a
The Fórsa and SIPTU public service unions have welcomed the government’s new ‘Blended Working Policy Statement,’ which would see the civil service switch from pandemic-related remote working provisions to long-term ‘blended working’ arrangements between September 2021 and March 2022. However, both unions want to see a rapid roll-out across the entire public service, rather than being confined to Government departments and agencies. They also underline the importance of some of the statement’s key points such as the commitment to a consistent approach and to transparency and fairness on access
The CNE/CSC trade union has strongly criticised health sector employers for failing to sign five key collective agreements to improve working conditions. The agreements have been negotiated following the major social agreement signed last year which allocated more than EUR 1 billion to the sector. A new salary structure has been in place since 1 July in the federal health sectors and many health staff have seen a significant increase in pay, some over 10%. However, the employers have since failed to sign agreements covering stabilisation of work schedules and employment contracts (including
The main trade unions in public administration have negotiated a new agreement to tackle the persistent problem of temporary employment. Earlier agreements have indicated a target rate of only 8% of temporary contracts in public administration but the level remains around 30%. The new agreement sets out a range of preventative measures and sanctions on public administration employers to contribute to the reduction of temporary contracts and sets a date of 31 December 2024 for the target to be reached. There will be clear and restrictive criteria for when temporary employment is possible and
Trade unions and employers have put forward a joint proposal to government for legislation to provide greater protection for precarious workers. If adopted, this will outlaw zero-hours contracts with all workers entitled to a minimum level of working hours each month. It will also aim to close any loopholes to ensure that all workers who’ve been on temporary contracts for three years will be offered a permanent contract. Further provisions include allowing temporary contracts only when required by illness or surges in demand and greater protection for temporary workers against dismissal. The
The public service federations in the CCOO and UGT confederations have set out a number of demands on the government to take effective measures solve the persistent problem of temporary employment in the public sector. As long ago as 2017 an agreement was negotiated to get temporary employment below 8% in the follow-up to legal rulings on excessive use of temporary contracts. The unions underline the importance of consolidating temporary staff into permanent positions taking account of their experience. The unions also want to see measures are taken that will ensure permanent reductions in
The Sanitas health union is calling on the government to offer permanent employment to the many medical and auxiliary workers who were taken on to help cope with the pandemic. These workers will see their contracts terminated once the end of the emergency is declared. The union argues that these workers have clearly demonstrated their skills and competences in helping to deal with the crisis with many facing high risks of infection and some even losing their lives to COVID. Sanitas also sees continuing staff shortages as another argument for offering these workers permanent employment.
Unions representing staffing in provincial government, including FNV, have suspended negotiations following what they regard as an unacceptable pay offer from the employers of only 0.6%, with inflation currently at 1.9%. They have now launched a petition to get broad support from staff and get negotiations back on track. Noting that productivity has increased with a significant rise in telework, they are looking for a 2.5% pay increase, a fair homeworking allowance and measures on sustainable employability.