Public service workers across the UK have been involved in number of disputes over pay, jobs and safety. Waste workers in Birmingham and Doncaster are taking or planning action over pay and safety while cleaners at four hospitals in East London are continuting their campaign for a higher pay increase against outsourcing company Serco. Meanwhile in Sheffield members of the PCS civil service union are taking strike action in protest at the closure of a local Job Centre, part of a campaign against government proposals for closures across the country. Finally, janitors in schools across Glasgow
The STAL trade union reports a high level of support for strike action at the RESIESTRELA waste company part of the EGF multinational. The strike is over pay, a pay structure and the right to collective bargaining. The union says that workers at RESIESTRELA are the lowest paid in the EGF group with no developed pay or career structure. STAL has been raising these issues with EGF for many years but the company has refused to negotiate.
The concept of Just Transition was at the heart of the discussion at the EPSU’s Utilities Standing Committee where decarbonisation and digitalisation of the European economy were deeply debated amongst members.
Pressure on the employer from a series of warning strikes at the Suez Süd waste company, enabled services union ver.di to secure a new pay agreement that runs until 31 December 2018. The first pay increase of 2% is backdated to 1 August this year and the next pay rise will be a further 2% from 1 August next year. There will also be two lump sum payments, one net payment of EUR 150 and one of EUR 125 gross. Apprentices will get an extra EUR 275 this year and EUR 150 next year.
Waste workers employed by Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in England, have won a new deal that will protect the pay of workers who were threatened with the loss of thousands of pounds in pay.
The ETUI research organisation has published a new report and issue of its health and safety magazine, HesaMag, that both cover the risks of workplace cancers. As many as 100000 deaths a year are linked to workplace carcinogens but it is not just hazardous substances that are of concern. The ETUI publications also cover other risks such as night work which has been linked to higher risk of breast cancer with some specific cases affecting hospital staff. HesaMag also looks at the problems of getting proper recognition of the risks faced by workers in sectors like cleaning, maintenance and waste
The GMB general and public services union has raised concerns about safety in the waste sector. The union says that official figures show that deaths among refuse workers rose from eight to 12 last year while staff faced 1,000 instances of dangerous driving every single day. The GMB points out that workers are facing these serious threats to their safety while having seen their pay plummet in real terms since 2011.The average earnings of a refuse worker are just over £19,000 a year (EUR 21250), 7.4% lower in real terms than in 2011.
Waste workers in northern Germany, members of the ver.di trade union have criticised their employer, Remondis, for switching to a different sector collective agreement. From the beginning of February the company said it would apply the freight and logistics agreement rather than the private waste agreement. The company argues that this makes no difference but the union points out that it delivers no improvements. Ver.di says that drivers are on a starting wage of EUR 11.95 an hour (less in some areas) and that many don't progress from this level. Meanwhile, the Rethmann Group which owns
A report written by The Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) and commissioned by European Public Service Union (EPSU) investigates the impact of privatization and liberalization on waste services.
Waste workers in the UK and France are taking or planning industrial action over a wide range of issues. Public and private sector workers in France, organised by the CGT union, are taking action over major demands on pay, pensions and health and safety. Meanwhile, in Hull in North East England workers employed by the FCC multinational are protesting over sick pay and inThurrock in South East England the issue is one of surveillance. Workers there are objecting to live streaming to management from cameras in all refuse lorries.
The tragic death of 54-year-old Michele Lorusso, an employee of a private waste contractor near Bari in southern Italy, has prompted calls for urgent action on safety in the sector. The incident happened when Michele was on his own and attempting to fix a waste truck that had broken down. The FP-CGIL trade union says that this is just the latest in a long line of incidents with the sector registering a rise in accidents and occupational diseases in recent years. The union wants to see health and safety in the industry now given the highest priority.