The GSEE and ADEDY private and public sector trade union confederations organised a 24-hour general strike on 10 June in protest at draft legislation on labour law changes. The confederations are particularly concerned that the new law will allow individual worker contracts that will undermine the eight-hour day and increase overtime. They are also protesting over further attacks on the right to strike and the weakening of the labour inspectorate. EPSU sent a solidarity message. Meanwhile, the OME-EYDAP water trade union has been mobilising to resist job cuts and other threats to pay and
Strikes and industrial action
The right to strike is fundamental for trade unions. Although strikes and industrial action are the weapons of last resort, it is crucial that trade unions can use them in the fight to defend workers' rights and get a fair deal from employers. The challenge for many unions, particularly those in the public sector, is that the right to strike is restricted or even completely denied. Information on the right to strike in the public sector is available in over 40 country factsheets that cover the main rules and include information on cases that trade unions have taken to the International Labour Organisation and Council of Europe.
The UNIO trade union confederation whose members cover workers with higher education has been pushing for higher pay deals in three negotiations – national local government, Oslo municipality and public companies represented by the employers’ organisation, Spekter. The NSF nurses’ union is one of UNIO’s members involved in the strikes and negotiations and they are calling for higher pay for nurses to tackle major staff shortages. The government has stepped in to end strikes in local government and the Oslo municipality on the grounds, rejected by the trade unions, that the actions pose a
A successful legal case backed by the UNISON public services union means that employers will no longer be able to mistreat workers who take part in union-organised workplace disputes. UK law had previously prevented employers from sacking staff, but not from disciplining or making life difficult for them. The employment appeal tribunal (EAT) case was taken by care worker Fiona Mercer against the Alternative Futures Group. She had been involved in a long-running dispute and was disciplined, suspended, and prevented from going into work by her employer. The EAT said that UK law was not compliant
Unions representing workers across municipalities and regions are negotiating with the SKR and Sobona employer organisations on changes to the crisis agreement. The aim is to ensure that the agreement is better adapted to longer crisis situations, based on experience from the pandemic. The crisis agreement can be activated temporarily by the employers in special crisis situations and means that regular working hours are increased at the same time as staff receive higher compensation. The agreement also allows for special emergency overtime and relocation of staff. It was drawn up with short
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.
Several unions representing workers in early years education came together on 5 May in a day of strike action and a demonstration in Brussels. Workers are angry about the impact of the pandemic on the sector and the failure of the authorities in the Wallonia and Brussels regions to address their concerns. The unions were also demanding a revaluation of pay in the sector and a range of other measures to deal with staffing issues, leave, contracts and increased public funding.
The PCS public and commercial services union reports strong support for its second round of strike action at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority in South Wales. Other unions and Labour MPs have backed the action which aims to secure improved health and safety provision at a workplace that has seen some of the highest rates of COVID infections anywhere in the country. Meanwhile the union is also celebrating a positive result from strike action taken by its members working in the court service but employed by the OCS multinational. They secured a new two-year agreement backdated to April
The STAL local government union has called for a national strike on 20 May to support a range of key demands on pay and employment conditions. The union says that local administration workers have not had a decent salary increase for over 10 years, on average seeing an almost 10% loss of purchasing power since 2010. The union is calling for a €90 for all workers and action on career development. It also wants to see the end of the SIADAP performance evaluation system that has led to stagnating salaries for more than 75% of workers. STAL underlines the essential link in providing decent pay and