Nov. 09, 2017 Excessive workloads and unpredictable hours will feature prominently in the childcare sector negotiations that began on 8 November. With a slogan that "we're not jacks of all trades" the FNV trade union highlighted the problem that childcare workers were overburdened with cleaning, administrative and other tasks rather than child care itself. The union will be looking for restrictions on the extent to which employers can ask childcare workers to change their working time at short notice. The main pay claim will be for a 3.5% pay rise for the 80000 workers in the sector.
Oct. 27, 2017 The FNV trade union has welcomed new data showing an increase of 56000 in the number of children benefitting from childcare places. The union says this good news has to be weighed against the main challenges facing the sector with many workers on precarious contracts, with variable hours and often facing high workloads. The union plans to raise the issues in the upcoming negotiations over a new collective agreement. The current agreement covers 80000 workers and expires in January. Negotiations are due to begin in November.
Oct. 12, 2017 Members of the FNV union working at a care home in Lopik in the Utrecht region have won an important victory, securing additional night staff and security measures. The workers at the care home run by the AxionContinu company organised a petition and camped outside the company's head office in order to put pressure on management. The workers argued that it was unacceptable for only one person to be on night duty with responsibility for over 60 vulnerable residents. The union will now try to tackle other issues in the company and hopes that the commitment on staffing levels will be taken up in other care homes.
Sep. 26, 2017 The Care and Welfare section of the FNV trade union has called on the government and employers to commit to urgent action to tackle understaffing and overwork in the ambulance service. The union says that increasing demand and lack of staff is creating an untenable situation and making it impossible for the service to meet its performance targets. FNV says the sector needs more permanent staff, accelerated training and adjustments to salaries so that they are in line with other collective agreements in the health sector. If there is no concrete response by 1 October the union will decide on what protest action to take.
Sep. 14, 2017 In the run-up to negotiating a new collective agreement covering 80000 workers in the childcare sector, the FNV trade union has published the results of a survey that reveal excessive flexibility in working hours and too many fixed-term contracts as major issues for childcare workers. The union argues that many workers have so few set hours that they can be called on at short notice to work additional hours, creating uncertainty and stress. With the increasing demand for workers in the sector the FNV argues that these issues need to be addressed if more qualified workers are to be recruited.
Aug. 31, 2017 Members of the FNV trade union at the Kwadrant care company have made some progress on their demands for action on jobs and overwork (see epsucob@NEWS no.15). In an initial meeting with management the workers have at least been given a commitment that travel time between clients will be fully paid working time. They will have to wait until 1 October to find out if the company will respond to their key demand not to cut jobs and to tackle the heavy workloads faced by many carers. The union has organised a petition among workers to highlight the problems they face.
Aug. 15, 2017 In two different initiatives care workers at the Kwadrant Group in Friesland and HWW Care in the Hague have taken action to get their employers to address problems around high workloads, sickness absence and quality of care. The Kwadrant workers have organised a tour of the company's workplaces to highlight the issues in advance of a meeting with management on 24 August. Meanwhile, some workers at HWW have taken strike action in protest at the company's plans to cuts jobs and take on temporary and self-employed workers. HWW workers, some with 20 or 30 years of experience are angry that the employer doesn't recognise this and wants staff retrained while even claiming some are incapable of being trained.
Aug. 01, 2017 Reacting to a recent report on increased violence in prisons, the FNV trade union has called for increased investment in prison staff to be made a political priority. Official figures show that violent incidents against staff rose to an average of four and a half a day in 2015 and then five a day in 2016. This, along with evidence of widespread drug abuse in prisons, has been taken up by the FNV as well as as the central works council of the justice ministry.
Jul. 07, 2017 (July 2017) Firefighters are set to benefit from a new wage and pension arrangements that will see their net income protected with pension coverage to ensure there is no gap between retirement and getting the state pension. The new arrangements recognise the risks associated with the job and compensate for changes implemented in the state pensions system. Firefighters also keep their right to retire at 59. This agreement covers around 2600 firefighters in post before 2006. A deal covering all other firefighters will now be negotiated.
Jun. 26, 2017 Public service unions bargaining for better pay across Europe A pay rise for public service workers across Europe is the message that EPSU has sent out today – 23rd June – Public Services Day. Supported by the European Trade Union Confederation and in cooperation with the ETUCE teachers' federation, EPSU has highlighted some of the countries where public service workers continue to suffer from the effects of pay cuts and pay freezes. This special issue of EPSU's Collective Bargaining newsletter reports on some of the latest developments in pay negotiations and affiliates' campaigns, protests and other actions in support of those negotiations. Ireland: Public service workers suffered significant pay cuts in 2009 and 2010 with take-home pay also affected by a pensions levy. Unions are in the process of considering and consulting over a potential three-year pay deal which, if agreed, would mean a significant step towards pay restoration. The positions of the various unions can be seen at IMPACT, SIPTU, INMO, PSEU, CPSU and AHCPS. Czech Republic: The OSZPS health and social care union launched a campaign earlier this year exposing the pressing problem of low pay and overwork, with many workers leaving for better paid jobs in other sectors or other countries. The union has negotiated pay increases and new pay arrangements which will provide pay increases of between 9% and 23.5%. The highest increases will go to the lowest paid, following the abolition of the lowest three pay grades in the pay scale. UK: Public sector unions have been pressing for some time for an end to the 1% cap on public sector pay. This, combined with earlier pay freezes, has meant a major loss of purchasing power. Local government workers in Scotland are currently balloting over industrial action while in England and Wales they have launched their pay claim for 2018. Health workers are also angry over pay restraint and civil servants have seen their pay progression blocked as well as pay frozen. Latest updates can be found at: UNISON, Unite, GMB, RCN and PCS. Spain: The main federations in the public sector, FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT, are mobilising around the country to secure a pay rise and other changes to employment conditions to restore cuts implemented since 2010. The most recent action was in Valladolid. Meanwhile, both federations are also supporting protests and strike action around the world to improve pay for the thousands of workers in embassies, consuls and other bodies. More information on the action in public administration can be read at FSC and FeSP while updates on the international campaigns can be found here and here. Belgium: The non-profit/social profit sector is a major employer in Belgium and covers a wide range of health and social services. Unions have been campaigning and negotiating for some time to secure improvements to pay, hours and to increase employment in a sector facing major pressures from overwork. The latest action took place at the beginning of June and while some concessions have been made the unions say they are still a long way from achieving their key demands. Read more at CSC-CNE/LBC-NVK, CGSP/ABVV and CGSLB/ACLVB. Austria: The two main unions in the private health and social services sector, vida and GPA-djp, have been negotiating and campaigning for higher minimum wages in their sector agreements. They are aiming for all sector agreements to have a minimum of at least EUR 1500 and then going for higher targets as this minimum is achieved. Further information can be read at vida and GPA-djp. Netherlands: The FNV trade union has just negotiated a new 27-month deal covering 55000 workers in welfare and social services. There will be a 3.65% increase in pay over the course of the agreement and a one-off payment worth 0.5% in January 2019. There are also provisions to deal with increasing work pressure. For further details check FNV. There are plenty more reports on recent pay settlements on EPSU's website. Here you'll find updates on some of the main bargaining outcomes in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden and Turkey and further updates from Austria, Ireland and the Netherlands. And there's lots of other bargaining news that can be searched by sector, subject and country.
Jun. 22, 2017
On 19 and 20 June 2017, HOSPEEM and EPSU organised the conference “Working together, learning together – Switching to the learning mode” in Amsterdam to deepen their thematic work on continuing professional development (CPD) and life-long learning (LLL).
Jun. 08, 2017 (June 2017) A new report from the CBS statistics office highlights three key trends in the labour market reflecting greater inequality and less security. Overall the percentage of workers on permanent contracts has fallen from 71% to 61% while the labour market is becoming more divided between low-paid, low-skilled jobs and high-paid work, with few jobs in the middle. The report also found more young people and those with basic education are stuck in low-paid jobs with little autonomy or security.
May. 25, 2017 (May 2017) The FNV and NU'91 trade unions have negotiated a new collective agreement covering 80000 workers in the mental health care sector. The agreement runs from 1 March 2017 to 1 July 2019 and includes a 4% pay increase - 1.65% this year and 1.88% next year with an extra 0.25% coming in end-of-year bonuses. The agreement also includes measures to address problems of overwork and long working hours with a checklist to assess the health impact and sustainability of workers' rosters. There are also measures to improve the provision and scope of training.
May. 12, 2017 (May 2017) The long-running conflict at the European Patent Office (EPO) over abuses of worker and trade union rights is now heading to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). SUEPO, the trade union at the EPO has filed a complaint against the Netherlands for failing to protect workers. The courts there ruled that Dutch law has no jurisdiction leaving the workers in a legal limbo. The workers have been supported by the FNV trade union and the matter has been taken up in the Dutch parliament.