2018 May Collective Bargaining News 09
Issue 9, May 2018
- Denmark:Unions secure new agreements across public sector
- Belgium: Civil service unions strike over attacks on conditions
- Portugal: Two-day strike by health workers
- Norway: Municipal agreement will encourage skills development
- Romania: Health union meets government following major rally
- Europe: ETUC issues collective bargaining alert
- Spain: Unions take their pay and jobs message to parliament
- Ireland: Unions push for pay equity for new entrants
- Germany: Health company goes for intimidation not negotiation
- Netherlands: Union calls for urgent talks over prison staffing, safety and workloads
- UK: Union analysis reveals extent of violence against ambulance workers
- Sweden: Union highlights progress on assistant nurses' pay
- Europe: Building transnational union networks in private social care
- Europe: More collective bargaining news from across Europe
May. 02, 2018 The public service federations in the CCOO and UGT confederations organised a joint demonstration on 26 April to coincide with the parliamentary debate over the government's proposed budget. The unions are calling for a flat-rate increase of EUR 200 for all workers in public administration plus a further EUR 100 linked to pay grades. The unions are aiming for a minimum wage of EUR 1200 a month and steps towards restoring purchasing power for all workers in public administration. The unions are demanding more and better jobs but recent official statistics analysed by the FSC-CCOO federation show that there is still a major problem with temporary work. In the latest quarter 68.8% of jobs created were fixed-term, leading to an increase in the overall proportion of fixed-term contracts from 23.1% to 24.5%.
May. 02, 2018 Public service unions, including Fórsa and SIPTU, have met with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for discussions on dealing more rapidly with the problem of pay equity for new entrants to the public service. In the pay changes implemented as part of austerity measures in 2011, two additional points were added to the first two pay grades for new starters. This means that they need two more years to reach the top of their pay grades compared to higher grades. The unions argue that with economic growth and higher tax revenues, it should be possible to tackle this issue in advance of the next formal round of collective bargaining. There are around 60,513 new entrants, making up 19% of public service workers, who are affected.
May. 02, 2018 In the latest stage of its Pay Rise campaign the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has issued an alert on the state of collective bargaining across Europe. The ETUC's analysis of official data shows 35 ‘red’ warnings for 17 EU member states. Countries with the largest number of ‘red’ warnings include Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania and UK. The emergency alerts cover issues such as the extent of company-level rather than sector-level bargaining, collective bargaining coverage and the use of extension arrangements. The warnings also cover low wage shares in the economy. For example, less than 35% of working people are covered by collective agreements in at least six member states while wages make up less than the average of 45% of GDP in 10 member states. The ETUC has also produced a video urging workers to join a union and support collective bargaining.
May. 02, 2018 The ver.di public services union is calling for solidarity for two of its members who have been summarily sacked for their trade union activities. The union has been engaged in a pay dispute with the Celenus group of rehabiliation centres which has around 20 operations in Germany employing over 2100 workers. Carmen Laue and Heike Schmidt, members of the ver.di collective bargaining committee, were sacked for distributing information on strike action. Ver.di has criticised the company for trying to intimidate workers rather than try to resolve the dispute through negotiation. The union is asking for messages of support for the sacked workers and for protest messages to be sent to Celenus management.
May. 03, 2018 Trade unions in the municipal sector are pleased with the new collective agreement which they say recognises workers' competences, will encourage training and education as well as recruitment to the sector. The unions believe that the pay increases reflect skills at all levels whether based on formal qualifications or experience and will contribute to closing the gender pay gap. All workers will get an increase of NOK 5000 (EUR 515) a year and there are also increases to allowances for night and weekend work.
May. 03, 2018 Health union representatives met with the government on 2 May following a well-supported rally on 26 April. The government has promised to tackle some of the pay and bonus problems identified by health unions but has yet to come up with concrete written proposals. Health union Sanitas wants the government to lift the 30% limit on bonuses and to increase pay for all workers in health and social services. It also wants to negotiate collective agreements in the two sectors. Unless the government addresses these issues the union is planning a two-hour warning strike on 7 May and a national one-day strike on 11 May. EPSU has sent letters supporting the union's case to the Prime Minister and the ministers of health, finance and labour.
May. 03, 2018 The FNV trade union for prison staff has called for an urgent meeting with prison service management to discuss the implications of a new report on staffing, safety and treatment of inmates. The union believes that the report, "Out of Balance", by the Justice and Security Inspectorate provides further evidence of its concerns over excessive workloads and inadequately trained staff. The union now wants the prison service to discuss permanent measures to tackle these problems building on the temporary arrangements that were agreed last year by the justice department and central works council.
May. 03, 2018 The three main public service federations took strike action on 30 April in protest at proposals for significant reductions to civil service employment rights and benefits. In a major cost-cutting reform plan the government wants to employ more workers on contracts, including temporary contracts, and reduce the number of civil servants on statutory conditions to a minimum. It is also looking to cut holiday entitlement and reduce certain sickness and pension benefits.
May. 03, 2018 Information gathered by the GMB trade union shows that the number of violent attacks on ambulance workers in the UK increased by 34% between 2012/13 and 2016/17 with a total of 14,441 physical assaults against ambulance workers over that period. The figures are published in the GMB's new report, In Harm’s Way: Confronting Violence Against NHS Ambulance Staff, providing arguments for the union's campaign to have special legislation aimed at protecting emergency service workers.
May. 03, 2018 The SINTAP public services union organised a two-day strike of health workers on 2-3 May in protest over working hours, excessive workloads and overtime and the need to improve career development. The union wants to see the 35-hour week guaranteed for all health workers, ensuring equal treatment across the public services. SINTAP highlights the problem of excessive workloads with many workers building up large credits of overtime worked. It is calling for workers to be paid for their overtime and for an increase in employment to address the problem of workloads. Early indications were of very strong support for the strike, with 70% walking out.
May. 03, 2018 The latest edition of collective bargaining news from the European Trade Union Institute contains several articles on developments in the public services, including resistance to privatisation in Croatia and Greece, a strike over staffing levels at Limassol hospital in Cyprus, a national strike over pay by midwives in Iceland, the latest on the six-hour-day experiement at the Svartedalen care home in Sweden and a report on pay differentials for civil servants doing the same work in Germany.
May. 03, 2018 A major conflict across the public sector was avoided as trade unions negotiated new agreements covering state, local and regional government workers. Some elements of the agreements are the same with an overall package worth 8.1% over three years. This figure includes a basic increase for all workers but also elements directly specifically at low paid workers and jobs predominantly done by women. An important element is the change in the rules linking pay developments to those in the public sector with the guarantee now that pay will move fully in parallel rather than only guaranteeing a part of the private sector increase.
May. 04, 2018 Municipal workers' union Kommunal has recorded the success it has had in improving the pay and status of assistant nurses. In 2016 and 2017 the union ensured that assistant nurses received a pay increase of SEK 1020 (EUR 97) worth around 4.3% while the overall increase in local government was SEK 520 (EUR 49) worth around 2.2%. Further progress followed in 2017 with SEK 180 (EUR 17) for assistant nurses on top of the general increase of SEK 530 (EUR 50), worth 2.2%.Kommunal notes that the gap between pay for nurses and engineers has closed but that more needs to be done to increase pay in sectors and jobs dominated by women. It is also targeting childcare workers in terms of improving their pay and status.
May. 04, 2018 EPSU has made considerable progress in bringing together trade union representatives from across Europe in two social care multinationals - Orpea and Korian. Company networks are being built in both organisations while steps have already been taken in Orpea towards setting up a European works council, with the first meeting of the Special Negotiating Body taking place on 25 April. Both companies are French-owned and have expanded rapidly in recent years with subsidiaries now operating in several European countries.