2019 February epsucob@NEWS 03
IN THIS ISSUE
- Hungary: Unions mobilise against "slave" law
- UK: Home care workers rally in long-term dispute over working time
- Belgium: Confederations call general strike for 13 February
- Portugal: National action across public services planned for mid-February
- France: Unions take action in public services and Veolia
- Netherlands: Unions plan joint action over pension changes
- Italy: Overwhelming backing for agreement in social services sector
- Kosovo: Public sector workers strike over new pay legislation
- Norway: More care workers take legal action over employment status
- Switzerland: State council backs union over working time
- Romania: Health union calls for talks with government over pay discrimination
- Germany: Energy workers get 5.6% pay increase
- Austria: No progress in private and non-profit health and care negotiations
- Spain: Latest figures show continuing high level of temporary work
Jan. 29, 2019 The main FNV trade union is linking up with the CNV and VCP confederations to launch a cross-sector campaign on pensions. The plan is for workplace meetings across the country in the lead up to a national demonstration on 18 March. The unions want to see a freeze in pension age and no automatic link to increases in life expectancy. They are also calling for indexation to protect pensions from erosion by inflation and rules to ensure that all workers can build up pension entitlement to protect freelancers and those on precarious contracts, particularly younger workers.
Jan. 29, 2019 The fourth round of bargaining at the Uniper energy company ended with the signing of a new two-year agreement backdated to 1 January 2019. The 5000 employees will get an initial increase of 2.4% followed by a further 3.2% in December. Apprentice payments will increase by 15.5%. Energy union ver.di is pleased with the deal which it says would not have been possible without the mobilisation of workers and warning strikes.
Jan. 29, 2019 Home care workers employed by Birmingham City Council in Central England have mobilised for a rally on Tuesday 29 January supported by their union, Unison, and the TUC, the UK's single trade union confederation. The workers have taken over 50 days of strike action in their long-running dispute over plans by the Council to cut their working time. If the Council implements its plans then some workers will face poverty pay levels and cuts in annual salary of up to GBP 4000 (EUR 4600).
Jan. 29, 2019 The Frente Comum and FESAP federations of public service unions are planning national strike action on 15 February with FESAP unions also mobilising on the 14th. The unions have a broad range of demands on the government leading with the priority of ending the long-running pay freeze and tackling low pay. They also want government commitments on pensions, career progression and an end to precarious employment. The unions further underline the need to invest in quality public services rather than undermine them through privatisation.
Jan. 29, 2019 Unions mobilised for the latest demonstration against the so-called slave law that increases overtime limits in the labour code and relaxes rules on employer payments for overtime working. Along with a national demonstration on 19 January in Budapest there were around 60 events and actions around the country involving trade unions, civil society and political parties. Public service trade unions used the demonstrations to highlight some broader demands include for wage increases, a strengthening of the right to strike and a return of cafeteria benefits that were cut last summer. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Jan. 29, 2019 The three main trade union confederations - ACV/CSC, FGTB/ABVV, CGLSB/ACLVB - have called a general strike on 13 February to support their position in the cross-sector negotiations where the employers are refusing to negotiate on key issues and where a government re-calculation of data has produced a negotiating margin of only 0.8% for pay. The unions want to see action on early retirement provision, a minimum pension of EUR 1500 a month, an increase in pay in general as well as a push for a minimum wage of EUR 14 an hour. The other demands include equal pay for equal work and a strengthening of public services and better conditions for public service workers.
Jan. 29, 2019 Public services federations in CGIL, CSIL and UIL, representing also workers in third sector social services have negotiated a new agreement with the ANFFAS organisation that represents employers providing disability services. The agreement includes several new features - strengthening trade union relations, improving rules on working hours and sickness, extension of the right to training, improvements to parental leave and work-life balance and measures to restrict flexibility such as a limit on fixed-term contracts. There is an overall pay increase of 5% with an average of EUR 450 paid out in three tranches.
Jan. 29, 2019 The vida and GPA-djp private services unions are frustrated that they are not making progress in negotiations covering over 120000 health and social care workers. In the private health sector the employers' pay offer of 2.37% has been rejected as inadequate and the unions organised a day of action on 29 January with protests in three main cities - Vienna, Linz and Graz. Meanwhile negotiations in the non-profit care sector involving the Cartias (catholic) and Diakonie (protestant) employer organsiations are also blocked. The unions say they have had enough of positive words about the value and importance of the contribution of workers in the sector and it is time for action to reward them with the pay and conditions they deserve and in line with the levels of pay for jobs of similar skills in the public and industrial sectors.
Jan. 29, 2019 The latest official public sector employment data, analysed by the FSC-CCOO public services federation, reveal a persistent problem of temporary employment. Despite an agreement to reduce temporary contracts to 8% of total employment by 2020, the latest figures show temporary work at 26.3% across the public sector (29.9% for women and 21.8% for women). There is good news in terms of an overall increase in public sector employment although the number of jobs is still around 95000 short of replacing the 400000 jobs cut as a result of the austerity measures. While there has been some increase in employment of the under-30s they still make up only 7% of the public sector workforce compared to the over-50s who account for just over 43%.
Jan. 30, 2019 The pay freeze and job cuts in the public sector have prompted action by some unions in February with the CGT taking strike action on the 5th and FO organising a week of action 3-10 February with a national demonstration on the 7th. Their principal demands focus on unfreezing pay, stopping the job cuts but there are also broader demands about the minimum wage and a fairer tax system. Fairness is also one of the factors behind the unions' joint call for strike action across the energy, water and waste company Veolia which employs 50000 workers in France. The CFDT, CFC, CFT and FO are calling for a general pay increase and higher minimum wages at the group's subsidiaries across the country and criticise the company for failing to protect employees' purchasing power and distributing company shares in a way that disproportionately benefits senior management.
Jan. 30, 2019 More members of the Fagforbundet public service union in the care sector are taking legal action over their employment status. A case is already underway against the Aleris company and further action has now been started against the Heimte Vitale care company where three workers are claiming rights and compensation as employees rather than as self-employed "consultants". Fagforbundet sees these as important cases and says other contractors who try to cut costs by using "consultants" should pay close attention to what's happening in the court.
Jan. 30, 2019 Central and local government workers have joined teachers and health workers in strike action against government plans to reform the public sector pay system. New legislation is set to establish a more unified and consistent pay structure across the public services but most groups of workers are unhappy about the proposals. Health workers were among the first to take action at the end of last year.
Jan. 30, 2019 The Sanitas health union has been continuing talks with the Ministry of Health over the pay legislation covering the health system. The union argues that the legislation effectively discriminates against certain occupations including pharmacists, biologists, psychologists, physiotherapists, medical registrars, and nurses. However, after the last meeting made no progress the union is now demanding to meet the prime minister to secure a commitment to act to resolve the issue and warns that it will mobilise its 100000 members if no progress is made.
Jan. 30, 2019 The state council of the Zürich region (canton) has ruled in favour of the vpod public service trade union on the question of time taken by workers to change into and out of work clothes that this should be treated as working time and paid as such. The vpod has pursued the issue particularly for health workers and is now preparing pay claims to recognise the loss of earnings in cases where the time has not been paid. On the basis of a survey, the union estimates that time for changing clothes can be around 15-20 per day and so is could account for two full weeks a year.