Collective bargaining – trends and developments
Collective bargaining is a core activity of trade unions and EPSU’s affiliates negotiate with public service employers at every level. This can range from national public-sector wide bargaining to sector and local negotiations with public sector employers but also private and non-profit providers of public services. EPSU works with the European Trade Union Confederation to try to improve collective bargaining rights for all workers across Europe. We also act as a European information point so that EPSU affiliates are aware of trends in public service negotiations. EPSU’s collective bargaining newsletter provides regular updates on developments across Europe.
The JHL trade union has expressed frustration at the decision of the state and church employers not to finalise negotiations over pay increases for 2023. They are apparently waiting to see how things develop in the key technology industry in the private sector. JHL raises the question of whether the church and state employers should be looking towards the private sector to influence their negotiations and also whether or not this is in effect a form of coordination that employer organisations have rejected in the past. In both church and state negotiations there is a commitment to negotiate a
The CITUB trade union confederation reports that workers in regional health inspectorates and emergency medical centres have seen substantial salary increases from the beginning of December. Regional health inspection staff have seen pay rise by up to 30% while emergency medical staff are getting around 22%. Unions have been organising a series of protests over pay since the autumn. Meanwhile, the Podkrepa trade union confederation reports that workers at the Ministry of Justice are covered by a new framework agreement that strengthens social dialogue and ensures protection of workers’ social
The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations met with the FEMP local government employers’ organisation on 12 December to agree a framework for negotiations and on setting up an observatory of the public service in local administrations. The trade unions are keen to address a range of issues including training, equality plans, occupational reclassification, digitalisation, job creation, the ageing of the workforce, the improvement and the expansion of services. The aim of the observatory will be to undertake studies and identify good practices in relation to the development of public
Trade unions across the three confederations – LO, YS and Unio – have negotiated changes to the main state agreement that regulates the relations between unions and the government. With many government agencies facing restructuring, the unions are pleased that the new agreement, that runs until 2025, will strengthen co-determination and ensure trade unions are involved in tackling change and the introduction of, for example, new digital tools and processes. The agreement also reinforces the commitment of both sides to address sustainability and climate change and has clearer wording around
The Nezavinost trade union confederation has called a national demonstration outside government offices in Belgrade on 10 December with a call for a 25% pay increase for all public sector workers. The key message of the demonstration is the need to properly value and recognise the work of public sector employees, to ensure their health and safety and guarantee compliance of employers with collective agreements.
Following their national protest on 22 November, the FSC-CCOO, FesP-UGT and other unions in the Ministry of Justice have taken further action to support their demand for negotiations around the law on organizational efficiency in the justice service. They want to ensure protection of the pay and working conditions of civil servants. The unions are concerned about the impact on jobs, careers and opportunities for promotion and the level of services to citizens. The unions organised actions at Ministry of Justice offices around the country and have not ruled out strike action if there is no
Following the day of protest and strike action on 9 November, the three trade union confederations – ACV/CSC, ABVV/FGTB and CGLSB/ACLVB are planning further action with a national demonstration set for 16 December. The unions are calling for a revision to the salary law that restricts the unions’ scope to negotiate and they want to retain the pay indexation system that they are worried is under threat from the employers. Their other demands cover action on energy costs, a shift in taxation to support workers and measures to restrict flexi-jobs.
The Eurofound research agency has published a new study that argues that social dialogue and collective bargaining were essential in finding solutions to the challenges in the hospital sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. It notes that this was also true in countries where these structures are not so strong – including Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia and Malta – and not just those where this a long-standing tradition of cooperation between trade unions and employers. The study found that negotiations were crucial for, among other issues, agreeing the changes to work organisation required to