Eight years on since the renewal of the last collective agreement, the Ministry of Public Administration has confirmed the timetable for negotiations over firefighters' pay and conditions. The FP CGIL union is looking for a pay increase to recognise the professional responsibilities of firefighters with a minimum €80 a month as agreed in the initial public sector pay talks last year. The union will also be looking for improvements in pensions and ways of dealing with accidents and occupational diseases.
After lengthy negotations, services union ver.di has endorsed a new agreement with the Uniper energy company that it will put to its members over the coming weeks. Key elements of the deal are commitments to no compulsory redundancies and to an early retirement scheme, seen by ver.di as important for the company's coal-powered operations that will face restructuring. This part of the agreement will run to 2022 while the long-term pay deal will run to 2024. The union prevented the company from cutting bonuses like Christmas pay but performance pay will be ended. In 2018 workers will get a lump
A national strike in local government and municipal companies has been called for 27 October by the Frente Comum group of unions, including the STAL local government union. The strike is in support of improved pay and conditions with unions calling for a 4% pay rise (minimum 60 EUR a month) to start to compensate for the pay freeze since 2009. The unions also want to see the 35-hour week guaranteed for all workers. Earlier in the month unions organising in the ASAE food inspection agency took strike action over career development, working time, pensions and a range of other issues.
Firefighters in the FP CGIL public services federation have called a demonstration outside parliament on 17 October. The aim of the protest is to underline the union's pay claim in the current round of collective bargaining as well as to call for action on a number of other issues including recruitment, pensions and funding.
The CGSP/ACOD public service federation, part of the FGTB socialist confederation, organised a national strike on 10 October. The union was protesting against the austerity policies of the government, weakening of employment rights in the public sector, reduced pension entitlement and the increased threat of privatisation. The union is also objecting to plans to impose minimum service requirements when public service unions taken strike action. The union says that minimum service agreements are currently negotiated with public service employers and should not be unilaterally imposed by the
The ADEDY civil service confederation along with the GSEE private sector confederation have called a general strike on 14 December in protest against the latest austerity measures proposed by the government. The unions want to see an end to pay freezes, steps towards decent pay and no reduction in tax allowances. They reject plans for further cuts to pensions and call for the creation of permanent jobs to deal with staffing shortages across the public services. The confederations also want to block any restrictions on the right to strike.
Four unions representing nurses - SEP, ASPE, SERAM and SINDEPOR - are all supporting national strike action on 20-21 September. Their protest is over the failure of the government to respond to a series of demands on improving the career and pay structure for nurses. These demands cover salaries that properly reflect nurses' job content, with particular concern for specialist nurses and nursing managers, confirmation of 35 years' service and 57 years of age as retirement age, provision of measures to compensate for the arduousness of shift work and the recruitment of more nurses.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) says that the proposals for Pan-European Personal Pensions (PEPP) should include stronger protection for workers' savings. The ETUC welcomed some improvements voted through by the European Parliament related to regulation and preferential treatment of schemes with good governance. However, it underlined that initiatives like PEPP should not be used to undermine collective and publicly-provided pension schemes which need to be maintained and strengthened.
Pension reform, low wages, concerns of young workers and more addressed in the Russia-Central Asia Constituency meeting
The unions of the constituency met in a situation of much turmoil in Russia. Protests have taken place across the country against proposed reforms of the pension system.
A new report from the Committee on Workers' Capital reveals the obscure way in which many fund managers charge costs to pension funds. It makes suggestions and provides guidance on how these costs can be made public and how this contributes to better pension fund performance and ultimately to higher pay-outs.
Earlier this month parliament approved government plans to gradually increase pension ages by five years starting from next year. The change has been widely rejected by trade unions with public service workers joining recent demonstrations to show their opposition. The issue was discussed at last month's meeting of EPSU's constituency covering Russian and Central Asia which agreed a statement expressing concern not just about the impact of the change but also about the failure of the government to carry out a proper consultation with trade unions.
The STAL local government union and other public service unions in the Frente Comum have called a one-day strike in public administration on 26 October. The unions have a range of demands including a 4% increase on pay (with a minimum increase of EUR 60) and pensions, measures to tackle precarious employment and also to ensure that all public service workers have the right to the 35-hour week.
Unions from all sectors joined a national demonstration in Zagreb on 20 October in protest against changes to the pensions system, including an increase in pension age to 67. Unions are calling for a pension age of 65 and to retain rules on early retirement including the possibility of retiring at 60 with 41 years of contributions. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.