Jun. 01, 2018 Unions and the government have returned to the negotiating table after a series of actions by civil servants showed the strength of feeling among workers for a decent pay rise. The government had offered a pay rise of 7% over three years, below the unions' target of 3.5% over one year. The agreement covering 118000 civil servants expired in December 2017.
May. 18, 2018 The FNV trade union and other unions involved in negotations for the maternity care sector cut short the latest round of talks in protest at the employers' failure to come up with a reasonable offer. The unions argue that the employers' offer actually represents a deterioration for workers and that it will do nothing to address the urgent recruitment situation resulting from an ageing workforce and workers leaving the sector, particularly for other parts of the health service where pay and conditions are better. The unions are looking for a serious offer from the employers before negotiations resume on 5 June.
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.
Apr. 19, 2018 The FNV trade union has started a series of actions in support of its pay claim for 110000 civil servants. The union is demanding an increase of 3.5% with a minimum guarantee of EUR 1000. The FNV argues that prime minster Mark Rutte has already called for a wage rise across the economy but Minister of the Interior, Kasja Ollongren, denies that there is any money for a pay rise for civil servants despite the long-term pay freeze they suffered. In the first of a number of initiatives the FNV organised a demonstration of prison workers in Utrecht and handed over their collective bargaining demands to the prison director who was then asked to communicate this to the government. The collective agreement covering civil servants ran until 31 December 2017 and trade unions broke off negotiations in February following the failure of the government to come up with any pay offer.
Apr. 04, 2018 The FNV trade union and other workers' organisations have signed up to a manifesto that commits them to negotiate measures to address mental illness at work. Around half the population is thought to have some kind of mental condition related to anxiety, depression or burnout. If nothing is done to tackle this in the workplace then employees' mental health may deteroriate, posing a risk to their continuing employment. Unions want to be able to ensure that a safe working environment means also providing support to address mental health problems.
Mar. 19, 2018 Staffing levels will be a priority for the negotiations over a new agreement in the ambulance sector. The FNV trade union has been organising a series of work-to-rule actions in the sector to highlight the urgent problem of understaffing. While extra funding for the service was agreed by the government last year, the union launched the protests as there was no guarantee that enough would be allocated to ensuring increased recruitment to the sector. The FNV wants to see improvements to pay and training to tackle staffing shortages, with many workers attracted to better pay and working time arrangements in other parts of the health service.
Feb. 22, 2018 The FNV trade union has negotiated a new collective agreement with Fokus, a provider of care for people with disabilities, with 2400 employees. The one-year deal includes a 2.8% pay increase from 1 January and special provisions for older workers to reduce their hours. Those within four years of pensions age can reduce their hours by 20% with a pay reduction of only 10% and the employer will ensure their pension contributions remain at the previous level. The hours made available will be reallocated, including to new employees. The agreement also means that workers aged 58 and over no longer have to work night shifts and it allows time off for union members to attend at least four union meetings a year.
Feb. 07, 2018 In a number of key cities, ambulance workers, members of the FNV trade union, re-launched their campaign over understaffing and overwork with a work-to-rule. The workers will strictly abide by all relevant rules and regulations related to working time, working conditions and patient hygiene to demonstrate to employers how they are normally forced to cut corners because of the enormous pressure they are under to attend emergencies. The union says that with current staffing levels it is impossible to achieve target response times. See also epsucob@NEWS 02, January 2018 and 21, November 2017.
Jan. 25, 2018 The care and welfare section of the FNV trade union will re-launch its protest campaign among ambulance workers following a failure to secure funding for extra pay. The protests were suspended in November (see epsucob@NEWS 21, November 2017) when a commitment was given to provide EUR 19.5m to deal with major staff shortages in the sector. The FNV says that EUR 13.5m of this should cover higher pay with a demand for EUR 1500 for each worker this year. This is needed to address the massive work overload and attract more workers to the sector where pay is lower than other parts of the health service. The employers have refused to make this commitment, instead retaining some of this funding to boost their finances.
Dec. 15, 2017 The FNV trade union has welcomed a new two-year agreement covering 7000 workers in the waste and environment sector. Pay will increase by 6% over the two years but with a EUR 900 flat-rate increase in the second year it will mean that lower paid workers will see wages rise by 7.5%. There is also a commitment to provide permanent contracts for 360 temporary workers, to reduce hours for older staff while taking on young workers and paid partner leave at the birth of a child will now be a minimum of four weeks. Private sector waste workers are covered by a separate (transport) three-year agreement signed earlier this year with a 2% pay increase a year plus additions for specific jobs.
Nov. 30, 2017 A planned series of protests by the FNV trade union was suspended earlier this month following an initial commitment from the government to additional funding for the ambulance service. The union had set 15 November as the first day of action in a campaign to highlight the issue of serious staff shortages which had led to 20 of the 24 regional services failing to meet performance targets. The campaign has been suspended until 15 January on the basis of the health minister's proposal for an extra EUR 10 million a year for training and recruitment and a one-off investment of EUR 5.7 million to provide 20 new ambulances. Whether the campaign is resumed depends on the outcome of negotiations set for 14 December and 15 January.
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.