Report sets out arguments for pension cost transparency
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.
Pension changes implemented despite union opposition
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.
Unions to strike over pay, pensions and working time
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 protest over pension changes
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.
Health union vows to challenge pension age increase
At a meeting on 22 October the health workers' union confirmed its opposition to the government's pensions reforms and said it would fight to restore the right to early retirement for health workers. The reforms, including raising the pension age to 65, have met with widespread opposition across the trade union movement not just over the measures themselves but also the way the government introduced them with little or no consultation. The law takes effect from 1 January 2019 and the health workers' union is considering legal action to challenge the changes to early retirement rights.
Public service federation calls 24-hour strike
ADEDY, the public services confederation, has called a 24-hour strike for 14 November. It is calling on the government to negotiate over a gradual process of pay restoration. ADEDY says that civil servants have already seen pay cut by 40% and now tax rises and reductions in tax allowances will further reduce take home pay. It is calling for immediate pay rises and the restoration of the 13th and 14th month salaries as initial steps in this process. The strike demands also cover the urgent need to recruit additional permanent staff, for measures on skills and training rather than a new
Union reports care company to labour and tax authorities
The Fagforbundet trade union has reported the Aleris Ungplan and Boi private care company to the authorities for possible breaches of labour, health and safety, tax and even criminal law. The union has taken up cases for a number of workers who have been denied their rights on pay, sick pay and pensions and forced to work excessive hours. The cases mainly involve workers who were taken on as "consultants" rather than employees so that the company could avoid paying pension, sickness and other costs. The company is a subsidiary of a major private sector health and social care provider, Aleris
Firefighters' unions organise protest over pay and conditions
The STAL and STML trade unions that represent firefighters organised a national protest in Lisbon on 3 December to challenge the government over changes to the statutes that regulate pay and conditions in the sector. The trade unions had already registered their anger with the government over its failure to negotiate with them. The government did agree to meet the unions but they rejected its proposals for change because they threatened to undermine firefighters' pay, pensions and career progression.
Firefighters strike to defend pay and conditions
Firefighters, members of the STAL and STML trade unions, took strike action from 18 December to 2 January in protest at government plans to change the statutes covering their pay, retirement and other conditions. The unions not only reject the proposed changes but are angry that the government aimed to implement them without any consultation or negotiation with the unions. The unions have made a series of demands related to protecting basic pay and ensuring appropriate payments for on-call and overtime work as well as allowances for dangerous and arduous conditions. They are also seeking
Pay deal implemented but unions still have key bargaining demands
A statute published last month confirms the pay increases that will be implemented this year for all public sector workers as part of a three-year package that was negotiated with unions last year. Along with a basic increase of 2.25% this January, there will be an additional 0.25% (0.3% if there is a budget surplus in 2018) and a further 0.25% in July if economic growth is 2.5% or more. Unions will be looking for progress on other key demands when they meet the government later this month. In particular, they want to see an increase in public sector employment and an end to restrictions on
Unions continue campaign against "slave law"
Sixteen trade unions are working together in a campaign against the "slave law" that will see major changes to rules on working time, with overtime limits increased from 250 hours to 400 hours a year. A national demonstration was organised on 8 December and EPSU sent a message of support. A further national protest is planned for 5 January, with support also coming from civil society organisations. The unions have a range of demands including withdrawal of the overtime proposals, a pay rise for public sector workers, changes to the strike law and improvements to pensions.
Massive demonstration against pension reforms
The three main trade union confederations organised a national demonstration in Brussels on 16 May in protest at government plans to reform the pensions system. The estimated 70000-strong march was nearly three times the size of a similar demonstration in December, showing the strength of opposition to government policy which includes raising the pension age from 65 to 67. Some of the key demands include a minimum pension that delivers an adequate standard of living, gradual alignment of private and public sector pensions and proper account taken of arduous jobs and sickness and injury in