Unions on strike alert as government threatens austerity
EPSU affiliates and other trade unions in the CMKOS confederation are on strike alert in response to a range of government proposals to consolidate public finances that pose a threat to public employees but also to tax allowances and other benefits for all workers. A potential 2% cut in staff costs in the public sector could have major consequences for pay and jobs with inflation reaching 30% over two years and so far no pay rise for public service workers this year. Public sector unions, including OSSOO and OSZSP, have expressed concern over the failure of the government to engage in social
Additional pay rises in mental health care
The FNV trade union has negotiated a 10% pay rise for the 100000 workers in mental health care on top of the pay increases already set in the current collective agreement. Mental health workers themselves had supported the union’s demands by starting a petition that got more than 10000 signatures in a very short space of time. There will be an additional salary increase of 5% in 2023 (minimum €150) on top of the previously agreed 2% (minimum €60). There will be a 2% wage increase (minimum €60) in 2024, followed by an additional 5%, 4% of which is structural (minimum €120) and 1% is one-off and
Unions take industrial action in private social care
Nursing and care unions Tehy and SuPer, along with ERTO, are running a campaign of industrial action to put pressure on private sector employers in the social care sector to deliver an improved pay offer. The unions have imposed bans on overtime and shift changes as well as organising strike action with a key aim to reduce the gap between private and public sector pay levels. Tehy and SuPer say that workers in elderly, child and disability care are on pay levels €150-€400 a month less than their public sector counterparts. They say that in the current negotiations the employers’ pay offer
Health workers protest secures meeting with government
A picket of the Ministry of Health on 23 May organised by the Sanitas health federation was key to getting the government to sit down with the union to discuss a range of issues relating to pay, bonuses, food allowances and funding for the health and social care system. Meetings took place on 24 and 25 May with the union setting out its key demands and the government indicating it would respond in early June. Sanitas will continue to mobilise its members and hasn’t ruled out warning strikes and potentially a national strike if the government fails to come up with solutions to its demands.
Pay campaigns in health and justice
The recent campaign of protests by the HSSMS-MT and SSZSSH health unions, “We are health care”, led to a meeting with the government to discuss pay and how to ensure that nurses and other health workers do not lose out in comparison to doctors and other health professionals. The government’s promise that a new pay agreement in 2024 would resolve the issue was not enough to convince the unions who said that they cannot wait until next year to see progress. Further negotiations are now planned. Meanwhile, the SDLSN trade union has called for mediation over its claim for a €400 pay increase for
Strong support for all-out strike in Ministry of Justice
The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT trade unions report continuing high levels of support for the all-out strike in the Ministry of Justice. The unions are calling for negotiations with the Minister of Justice over pay levels and implementation of the law on organisational efficiency which has serious implications for workers’ pay and career development. So far the Minister has refused to negotiate and the unions launched the all-out action following two three-day strikes earlier this month. Meanwhile, both FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT, are continuing their action in the Labour and Social Security Inspectorate
Unions build for 6 June ahead of vote on pensions
The trade union movement, including the CGT, CFDT, FO, UNSA and CGC-CFE, are maintaining their unified opposition to the government’s pensions reforms. They are now building for protest and strike action on 6 June ahead of 8 June when a draft bill to abolish the reforms will be voted on in the National Assembly. The unions reaffirmed their determination to get the reforms withdrawn following bilateral meetings with the government. They have also set up a website to make it easier for people to write to their MPs to get them to support the vote on the 8th.
Water workers and firefighters set strike dates
The SIPTU trade union has announced dates for industrial action by water workers and retained (part-time) firefighters in June. Water workers currently employed by local authorities face restructuring as a new national water company is established. The dispute is over the failure of local authorities to guarantee the protection of all pay and conditions if the workers choose to remain with their local authority. The firefighters’ action is over pay and the serious staff shortages in the sector which are putting extra pressure on existing staff who often forego holidays in order to ensure cover
Union negotiates new deal for Red Cross workers
After two rounds of collective bargaining, the ver.di trade union has agreed a new 26-month deal with the German Red Cross covering around 50000 employees. Members have until June 15 to vote on the agreement which runs to 31 May 2025. From 1 August this year there will be a €1200 tax-free payment which employers can deliver in five instalments by the end of the year. In addition, workers will get €200 a month from September 2023 up to and including May 2024. There will be a pay increase of €200 plus 6% in June 2024. Various allowances are set to increase by 12% and there are also pay rises for
Unions reject local government pay offer as other disputes continue
Strike action could be on the cards across local government in England and Wales as members of the main trade unions – UNISON, GMB and Unite – have rejected the £1925 (€2215) flat-rate pay offer. Meanwhile, action over pay is continuing in the National Health Service in England where Unite is continuing its campaign to get pay negotiations re-opened with targeted strike action in hospitals and the ambulance service. The RCN nursing union is balloting its members in England over further action while RCN members in Wales have also rejected the separate pay offer there. In central government, PCS
Mediation avoids strike by horticulture workers
Following mediation the Kommunal trade union has backed a new agreement with the Gröna Arbetsgivare employers’ organisation covering around 3000 workers in horticulture. The union had been planning strike action following the employers’ initial refusal to increase minimum wages in the agreement in line with the general labour market trend. Wages will increase by 4.1% from 1 May 2023 and by 3.3% from 1 May 2024. Minimum wages will be increased by between SEK 1330 (€115) and SEK 1350 (€117) in the first year and there will also be an additional payment in 2024.
ETUC calls for action on low pay to tackle labour shortages
The European Confederation of Trade Unions (ETUC) is calling on employers to offer better-paid jobs to end damaging labour shortages across Europe. An analysis of job vacancy rates and wages in 22 EU countries by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) reveals that industries with the worst labour shortages pay 9% less on average than sectors where it’s easier to recruit. The ETUC argues that lack of skills is often seen as the main problem, but the new analysis suggests that low pay is one of the main drivers of labour shortages. The ETUI research found that across the EU, the industries
New Right to Energy manifesto calls for a European ban on energy disconnections
The Right to Energy coalition has launched a manifesto advocating for a European ban on energy disconnections, urging the European Parliament to leverage the demand as they review the European Commission’s proposal to revise the energy market.
EPSU asks government of Republic of Srpska (Bosnia-Herzegovina) to withdraw amendments that criminalises critique
Following discussion in the EPSU Constituency meeting for Central Europe and Western Balkan, we sent a letter to the government of the republic of Srpska to withdraw amendments to the criminal code.