2019 October EPSU Collective Bargaining News 19
IN THIS ISSUE:
- France: Joint union strikes and protests over health and social services
- Belgium: Unions in joint action over health sector negotiations
- Iceland: Union calls for mediation as negotiations stall
- France: Energy unions plan further action over EDF restructuring
- UK: Outsourced workers celebrate living wage victory
- Germany: Strikers defy hospital's anti-strike threats
- Spain: Public service federations want government action on pay and conditions
- Netherlands: Hospital unions continue protests
- Serbia: Minimum wage rise well below union target
- Italy: Public administration unions push for proper negotiations
- Austria: Health and care workers to get flexibility bonus
- Denmark: Union highlights staff shortages across health and social care
- Europe: Report reveals few major changes to working time
Oct. 09, 2019 Over 200 staff at the Schildautal hospital in Seesen in Lower Saxony took strike action on 4 October in defiance of threats from management that they would be dismissed. The hospital is owned by Asklepios, the second biggest private hospital group in Germany. The health union ver.di wants to negotiate a collective agreement that would bring pay in line with the public sector. However, the company not only refuses to negotiate but has threatened strikers with the sack and promised bonuses to strike breakers. The recent ver.di congress sent a message of solidarity to workers at the hospital.
Oct. 09, 2019 The FOA public services union has analysed the staffing shortage facing health and social service providers across the country. It estimates that by 2028 the staffing shortage will reach 41000 unless urgent action is taken now. With a third of staff aged 55 and over, there will be a large number of retirements in the coming period, not taking account of staff who may change jobs. FOA argues that the service needs to offer more full-time jobs with greater recognition of the work done by carers and proper time allowed to carry out tasks.
Oct. 09, 2019 The federations representing workers in public administration - Fp Cgil, Cisl Fp, UilPa and Uil Fpl - have expressed concern that the new government is behaving the same way as the previous government and not undertaking a proper process of negotiating a new collective agreement for the sector. The government has indicated it would agree to a pay rise of 1.95% in 2020 but the unions have rejected this as inadequate and underlined the importance of negotiations on a broad range of important issues including administrative reform, careers and measures to reduce precarious employment.
Oct. 09, 2019 The four unions representing workers in France's main energy company EDF - FNME-CGT, FNEM-FO, CFE-CGC and CFDT Chimie Energie - are continuing their joint actions in protest against the plans for major restructuring and privatisation of the company. After the widely supported strike action on 19 September, the unions have launched a petition and are planning a further day of strike action on 17 October.
Oct. 09, 2019 From 1 October the 100000 workers covered by the private health and social care agreement are entitled to a flexibility bonus if they agree to stand in for a colleague at short notice . They will get a EUR 20 bonus for the shift (if only three days' notice) and EUR 10 for further days. The arrangement was part of the 2019 collective agreement negotiated by the vida and GPA-djp private service unions. The unions see this as an important initiative, recognising the high level of workloads, extent of sickness and staff shortages that often need to be addressed with additional shifts.
Oct. 09, 2019 The public service federations of the CCOO confederation have called on the government to confirm the pay increase for 2020 as agreed and to undertake major negotiations over a range of issues including the re-establishment of rights and benefits frozen or removed as a result of austerity measures. The federations underline the need to stabilise employment and tackle the excessive levels of temporary work. They also say that long-standing issues relating to public employment, job classification, career development and equality need to be addressed.
Oct. 09, 2019 Hospital sector trade unions are continuing their work-to-rule action on Sundays and plan further protests over the coming weeks unless the hospital employers shift their negotiating position. The unions have said that a new agreement would be close if the employers turn their offer of a one-off increase into a structural pay rise. The employers, however, have attempted to get works councils involved in the dispute (works councils have no collective bargaining role) and have even tried to influence how the unions present their arguments for a pay increase to their own members.
Oct. 09, 2019 Workers employed by the Aramark outsourcing company at the government's Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have won their campaign to be paid a living wage. After two months of strike action the company agreed to pay a minimum of GBP 10.55 an hour (EUR 11.75) and also to improve holiday entitlement and sickness benefit. Negotiations covering other workers at BEIS employed by the ISS multinational are still underway.
Oct. 09, 2019 Trade unions in the health sector are set to take joint strike action on 24 October unless there are positive developments in the sector negotiations that resume on 14 October. Some demonstrations have already taken place but the unions are concerned about the lack of progress on substantial questions such as funding, worsening conditions, excessive flexibility and overworks and staff shortages.
Oct. 09, 2019 The latest biennial report from the Eurofound research agency finds that there have not been any significant developments in working time across Europe. The average working week remains at 38 hours. Public administration is one of the specific sectors analysed where weekly hours averaged 37.6 in both 2018 and 2017. The report noted some specific sector developments with particularly negative legislation passed in Hungary affecting public administration allowing for longer hours and more flexibility. More positive agreements were noted in Estonia (health) and Greece (local government and waste).
Oct. 09, 2019 The BSRB public service union has called for government mediation in its dispute with local authority employers. In the current negotiations the BSRB has focused on a reduction of the working week to 35 hours with no loss of pay. The employers, however, want to stick to a 40-hour week with the possibility of shorter hours negotiated at workplace level on the basis of concessions in relation to breaks and other benefits.
Oct. 10, 2019 Seven trade union and professional organisations joined with two campaigning groups to organise a coordinated day of strikes and protests calling for urgent action on funding for health and social services. The action on 8 October also linked up with protests by pensioner groups for better pensions and increased funding for care homes. Increased staffing and better pay and conditions were among the key demands from the unions. A second day of action is planned for 15 October which will link up with unions representing firefighters.
Oct. 11, 2019 The minimum wage is to be increased by 11.1% taking it to around 30 000 Serbian dinars a month (EUR 255). The unions had called for an increase of 24.5% to bring it in line with trends in the cost of living while the employers were looking at only 6%-10%. A deal couldn't be reached in tripartite dialogue and so the government acted unilaterally, while also lowering certain taxes on wages and benefits that employers have to pay. The minister of finance also announced a planned 5% increase for all public companies from 1 January 2020.