Jun. 28, 2018 The SOMK education, culture and media union organised demonstrations in Zagreb and Rijeka to protest against plans to raise the retirement age for childcare workers from 65 to 67. The union argues that the change fails to recognise the nature of work in the sector and the increasing mental and physical demands made on childcare workers. EPSU sent a message of solidarity as did the BDDSz childcare workers from Hungary.
Jun. 27, 2018 The FNV trade union has negotiated a new two-year collective agreement covering 80000 workers in the childcare sector. The agreement is backdated to 1 January 2018 and includes a pay rise of 5.25% over two years with 2.25% paid from 1 July this year along with a lump sum payment of EUR 185. Many workers in the sector work very few hours and are expected to be available to work at short notice. The agreement includes important provisions to regulate this with an extra day of work for those not working full-time and minimum two weeks' notice of work schedules. There are also proposals to tackle excessive workloads.
Jun. 07, 2018 Low pay, understaffing, inadequate opportunities for training and career development, increasing administrative work and health and safety issues are among some of the main challenges facing workers in childcare according to new research commissioned by EPSU. As part of a European Commission-funded project, "Quality Employment and Quality Public Services", EPSU asked the HIVA research unit at Leuven University to carry out four country case studies, investigating the situation of childcare workers in Bulgaria, Italy, Sweden and the UK. There were also positive developments in relation to the promotion of higher educational standards in Sweden, for example, while in Italy there had been a clear policy choice to extend and improve childcare provision. In contrast, low pay and precarious work were widespread in the UK while the sector in Bulgaria was facing a major challenge in recruitment to replace a rapidly ageing workforce. The researchers at HIVA, Monique Ramioul and Yennef Vereycken would be working further on the research following input from EPSU affiliates. Luca Scarpiello outlined how EPSU would develop its work around childcare.
May. 17, 2018 In advance of the third round of pay negotiations, a series of warning strikes by employees of the Red Cross have been taking place across the country to show the level of support for a decent pay rise. Public services union ver.di is calling for a pay rise of 7.5% with a minimum increase of EUR 200 a month. So far the employers have only offered a EUR 220 lump sum payment and a 2.4% increase this year with a further rise of 2.2% in July 2019. Ver.di says that the agreement should reflect current pay bargaining trends and should also include provisions on work-life balance and health that would help make working in the sector more attractive. The negotiations cover around 50000 of the Red Cross's 150000 employees who work in hospitals, emergency services, childcare, disability and eldercare and youth and training services.
Apr. 20, 2018 EPSU is organising a conference on 6-7 June in Brussels that will explore a number of collective bargaining issues. Part of the conference will focus on quality employment and will discuss in particular research on quality employment in two sectors - prisons and childcare. Other sessions will debate new research commissioned by EPSU. This includes an updated analysis comparing pay trends in the public and private sectors; union action to tackle low pay in sectors dominated by women and the impact of digitalisation in home care and public employment services. There will also be a panel debating the prospects for quality employment for young workers.
Apr. 04, 2018
On 13th March, over 40 trade union representatives from all over Europe took part in EPSU’s Social Services Working Group which met to discuss a number of issues that are key to defend and protect the rights, terms and conditions and dignity of workers in the sector.
Mar. 20, 2018 On 6-7 June, EPSU is holding a second conference in Brussels in the context of its current project on quality employment and quality public services. Along with special sessions looking at the prisons and childcare sectors there will also be debates on pay trends in the public sector compared to the private sector; low pay in sectors dominated by women; young workers and quality employment; a panel on developments in collective bargaining and some initial research findings on the impact of digitalisation on the home care and public employment services.
Feb. 08, 2018 A new report from the Kommunal local government union paints a positive picture of pre-school education but reveals increased pressure on staff, a failure to ensure appropriate staffing levels and an excessive use of fixed-term contracts. The report is based on a large survey of Kommunal members and interviews with 3352 childcare workers. The survey found that 39% of childcare workers found their work mentally exhausting, up by 15% since 2012. The union wants to see proper application of the official guidelines on staff/child ratios and an increase in the number of staff on permanent contracts.
Jan. 05, 2018 Private childcare workers saw a 3% increase in the sector minimum wage from 1 January. The increase was negotiated by the vida and GPA-djp service trade unions with the Federal Arbitration Office. The increase takes the lowest wage level above EUR 1500 for the first time, reaching EUR 1514. There is also a provision to ensure that special payments continue to be fully paid in cases of long-term sickness or accidents at work. The unions are pleased that this is a good deal for the 10000 workers in the sector, the vast majority of whom are women.
Dec. 15, 2017 Unions organising childcare workers met in Brussels to exchange information on some of the main challenges they face to improve the quality of employment in the sector. Low pay, undervaluing of childcare work, precarious employment, work intensification, health and safety, staff shortages and inadequate career development were among the issues facing many unions in the sector.
Dec. 14, 2017 The ver.di services union is arguing that a sector pay agreement is needed to cover workers involved in childcare, youth and family work and care for the disabled. It says that the problem faced by the sector is that many welfare-based and private providers fail to pay decent wages with some pay rates as much as a third less than those that apply in the public sector agreements. Ver.di is highly critical of low-paying employers who don't recognise that urgent action is needed to address the shortage of skilled staff, with an estimate that kindergartens alone will face a shortfall of 329000 workers by 2025.