Seven trade union organisations, including the CGT, CFDT, FO and UNSA, representing 85% of all firefighters have been taking strike action to demand improvements in pay and for a significant increase in jobs. The joint actions began in June and are running until the end of August. The unions want to see the withdrawal of legislation on public service reform and a number of other measures to improve pay, health and safety, pensions and trade union rights. A key demand is an increase in recruitment on statutory conditions. There are 40000 professional firefighters. This is the same number as in
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 48 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 GPA-djp private services union has strongly attacked the VKKJ organisation that provides care to disabled children for using an injunction to try to prevent its works councils from organising any kind of strike or protest to secure improvements in pay and conditions. The VKKJ has not signed up to the social services sector agreement and the works councils had successfully campaigned to bring pay at the organisation in line with that agreement but that's when VKKJ took the legal step. The union has offered to go to mediation but the employer has rejected this. The GPA-djp will strongly
EPSU, Europe’s voice of 8 million pubic service unions is supporting the many actions to demand urgent actions of the UN Summit 23 September, from our governments and the European Commission and European Council.
Over 200 staff at the Schildautal hospital in Seesen in Lower Saxony took strike action on 4 October in defiance of threats from management that they would be dismissed. The hospital is owned by Asklepios, the second biggest private hospital group in Germany. The health union ver.di wants to negotiate a collective agreement that would bring pay in line with the public sector. However, the company not only refuses to negotiate but has threatened strikers with the sack and promised bonuses to strike breakers. The recent ver.di congress sent a message of solidarity to workers at the hospital.
Trade unions in the health sector are set to take joint strike action on 24 October unless there are positive developments in the sector negotiations that resume on 14 October. Some demonstrations have already taken place but the unions are concerned about the lack of progress on substantial questions such as funding, worsening conditions, excessive flexibility and overworks and staff shortages.
Around 10000 health workers took 24-hour strike action on 26 June to put pressure on the ministry of health to act on the results of a major job evaluation exercise. Many workers - including those involved in portering, household and catering services and employed as health care assistants, maternity care assistants, laboratory aides, chefs and surgical instrument technicians - have been waiting for their job and pay to be upgraded but the government has stalled on implementing the job evaluation. The SIPTU union agreed to further talks on 26 June but said it was still preparing for further
Earlier this year the Council of Europe published its latest assessments of countries' compliance with its social charter and particularly article 6 on the right to strike. The report reveals that many continue to fail to conform with the requirements of the article and this is often related to significant restrictions on the right to strike particularly affecting public service workers. The latest list of countries not in conformity include: Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Malta, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain and the UK. Further details can
After three weeks of selective strike action in hospitals involving several public service unions, the government has used its powers to force an end to the action and refer the matter to a national labour tribunal which will meet in October. The strike was over pensions and ensuring that all hospital workers have a right to a pension from the first Krone earned. The government claimed a threat to health when the unions decided to step up the action. It has intervened in this way in the past, most recently in November 2018 in a dispute involving the NSF nurses' union (see epsucob@NEWS 22, 2018
Around 10000 health workers are on strike today over the government's failure to honour a job and pay regrading exercise. The strike, initially planned for last week, had been been suspended pending emergency talks.