The continuing demands imposed by the COVID pandemic are being addressed by municipal trade unions and employers through a new agreement setting out rules on overtime. The agreement will be applied locally if agreed between the local union and employer and provides for higher overtime rates and limits on overtime hours. Overtime rates are increased to 200% on normal days and 300% on weekends and holidays. The rates also apply to part-time workers above 20 hours a week. The agreement sets a range of daily, weekly and monthly limits to overtime hours.
Trade unions and employer organisations in public services have reviewed the impact of the crisis agreement that was negotiated to regulate pay and conditions of employees working during critical events such as natural disasters, fires and floods, pandemics or acts of terrorism. It covers approximately 1.2 million employees in municipalities, regions and municipal companies, including healthcare, care, school, infrastructure and emergency services. Initially, negotiated following major forest fires, the agreement has also been implemented during the COVID pandemic. The review found it was
EPSU demands action from EU Health Ministers to improve working conditions and safe staffing for care and health workers
On the occasion of the Council of Ministers for Health on Tuesday, 7 December 2021, EPSU demands that Ministers stand up for the right to health and care, remembering that the resilience of health and care systems means investment and funding.
Members of the FNV trade union are in the process of voting on whether to support the agreement covering the municipal sector that was negotiated last month. The agreement provides for a 1.5% pay increase from 1 December 2021 and a further increase of 2.4% from 1 April 2022. There will also be a €1200 lump sum paid, €900 of which is pensionable and €300 of which reflects a COVID bonus. Also the agreement commits municipalities to guarantee a €14 an hour minimum wage from 1 January 2022. There are several other elements to the agreement including a working-from-home allowance and measures
The GPA and vida trade unions that organise in private health and social care have launched a new campaign, “Words are not enough” with the support of their confederation, the ÖGB. The unions are calling for increased funding for the sectors to improve pay and conditions, increase staffing by at least 20000, reduce workloads and provide a further COVID bonus and additional time off. The unions say that applause and praise for health and social care staff is not enough and action is needed to increase the funding that covers private health and social care.
The vpod/ssp trade union is mobilising for a national demonstration of health workers in Berne on 30 October. The aim of the protest is to highlight the efforts and sacrifices that health workers have made in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Key demands include a COVID bonus but also action to deal with the long-standing problems of pay and understaffing in the sector. The union is also calling for measures to improve training, work-life balance and retirement provision and argues that pay increases should reflect the arduousness of many health workers’ jobs.
A new report from municipal services union Kommunal reveals how the pandemic affected workers across the sectors in which it organises. Based on interviews with nurses, cleaners, paramedics, caretakers and other workers, the report confirms the huge impact on healthcare where workers’ efforts have been central to the management of the pandemic. Employees have had to make huge sacrifices, working extra shifts, double shifts and overtime, with many authorities having to hire temporary staff, get pensioners back to work and with staff having holidays cancelled or being transferred to different
EPSU and The Federation of European Social Employers call for more Social Dialogue in the Social Services Sector: Lessons learnt from COVID-19
EPSU and The Federation of European Social Employers support sectoral social dialogue as a tool to improve the working conditions and wages of social services workers.
Unions representing healthcare workers have called for immediate talks with the Health Services Executive to discuss how to recognise healthcare workers’ efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. SIPTU, Fórsa, and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation raised the issue at the Labour Court, which acknowledged the extraordinary efforts of health staff and called on all parties to begin “effective engagement” to resolve the matter. In line with practice in several other European countries, the unions are looking for a bonus, pay addition or extra leave.