Sep. 13, 2019 Public service unions, including Fagborbundet and the nurses' union, are hopeful that 11 privatised care homes in Oslo will be back under municipal control in the next two years as their contracts come to an end. The red/green coalition on the city council has given positive signs but the unions are concerned it may use an option to extend contracts by one or two years. The unions argue that any delay will be costly to the workers. They give the example of a care home in Uranienburg which was privatised in 2013 and then remunicipalised but workers in the home had lost out with annual salaries for most workers NOK70-80000 (EUR 7-8000) less than in the public sector.
Sep. 13, 2019 A nine-month long dispute between the PCS civil service union and contractors ISS and Aramark could be near to conclusion if details of a pay offer are confirmed. The companies provide services to the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy which has indicated that the contractors may meet the union's demand to pay the London living wage of £10.55 (EUR 11.80) an hour. Meanwhile, the union is planning another five days of strike action in another long-running dispute, this time over union recognition at the contractor Interserve which provides services for the Foreign Office.
Aug. 22, 2019 Public service unions are fighting for better pay from outsourcing companies and to stop further outsourcing. Members of the PCS civil service union are continuing their long-running strike to get outsourcers Aramark and ISS to pay the living wage. They are calling on government intervention to resolve the dispute. Meanwhile health workers in Bradford in the north east are threatening an all-out strike in protest at plans to transfer them to a wholly-owned subsidiary rather than retain them as direct employees of the National Health Service.
Aug. 07, 2019 Around 300 hospital support workers, including catering, cleaning and portering staff, took strike action on 31 July in their campaign to get pay parity with National Health Service employees. The workers at three hospitals in North West England are employed by the multinational Compass and many of them are on the lowest pay rate of £8.21 (€8.95) an hour which is £0.82 (€0.90) less than the £9.03 (€9.85) minimum for NHS workers. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Jul. 31, 2019
EPSU sent a solidarity message today to hundreds of health workers on strike in three hospitals in North West England. The workers – cleaners, porters, catering and security staff – are employed by the multinational Compass and want their pay and conditions to match those of the directly-employed National Health Service (NHS) workers whom they work alongside.
Jul. 25, 2019 Outsourced workers at the Foreign Office and Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) are continuing to fight for better pay and at least the living wage. Workers employed by the Interserve company at the Foreign Office will be involved in talks at the conciliation service ACAS on 26 July to try to resolve their dispute over pay and recognition but their union, the PCS, has said strike action was already planned if a suitable settlement was not achieved. Meanwhile at the DBEIS, cleaners employed by ISS and catering workers employed by Aramark are on all-out strike to secure the living wage.They were joined on 22 July for a five-day strike by porters, security guards and postroom staff also employed by ISS.
May. 23, 2019 Two groups of outsourced workers providing services to central government took strike action in the week beginning 21 May. Cleaning, catering and security staff at the Department for Business, employed by the Aramark and ISS companies, took four days of action over their demand for a living wage of GBP 10.55 (EUR 12) an hour. The same week, employees of the outsourcing company Interserve at the foreign ministry took two days of strike action. The workers, involved in facilities management, printing, portering and cleaning, are fighting for trade union recognition and defence of their rights to holiday, sickness and redundancy pay.
May. 21, 2019
Public service unions in the UK welcomed the decision by the Ministry of Justice on 16 May to return 80% of privatised probation services in England and Wales to public sector ownership and control.
May. 14, 2019 A strike by around 650 care workers, employees of the private company, Alternative Futures Group (AFG), has forced the employer to the negotiating table after management initially refused to negotiate with public service union Unison. The workers took strike action in protest at the company's decision to cut the allowance for sleepover shifts. This means cuts of up to GBP 2000 (EUR 2300) a year for some workers. Talks between Unison and the Liverpool-based AFG were due to start on 17 May. Meanwhile cleaners at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow in Essex to the East of London have voted overwhelmingly to strike in protest at plans to outsource the service.
Feb. 28, 2019 A new analysis from the research organisation, the Living Wage Foundation, shows that over one million public service workers are paid less than the living wage - GBP 9.00 (EUR 10.50) an hour outside London and GBP 10.55 (EUR 12.30) in London. These figures are calculated by independent researchers and are higher than the official minimum wage. Public service union UNISON says that recent pay deals in health and local government have lifted minimum wage rates in collective agreements above the living wage but many workers employed by private contractors in care, catering and cleaning and other services are on lower rates. UNISON members at Liverpool's Women's Hospital took strike action on 25 February to secure higher pay while other contractors in the health service have committed to increase rates. Members of PCS working for contractors at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have also been on strike for higher pay.
Feb. 14, 2019 The Fagforbundet public service union is continuing to pursue legal action against the Aleris care company which it believes has major implications for labour rights in Norway. The company is being challenged over using self-employed workers that it calls "consultants" rather than directly employing care staff. The "consultants" have no employment rights and have been forced to work long hours of overtime, including up to 72 hours without a break, for fear of being denied work. They have no sickness or pension benefit or protection against dismissal. Aleris Care is now part of the Ambea group of companies which has renamed the operations Stendi.
Jan. 04, 2019 Trade unions representing workers in the electricity, gas and water sectors organised a day of strike action on 17 December. The unions are concerned that changes to procurement rules will lead to more outsourcing and so threaten jobs, pay and conditions and the quality of services. Meanwhile, unions organising in the private health sector began a series of regional actions with a strike in Lazio on 14 December as part of a campaign to secure a new sector agreement covering 150000 workers. It is 12 years since the last agreement was negotiated.
Jan. 03, 2019 The Oslo District Court has rejected the attempt by the Aleris multinational care company to use European law to prevent workers claiming their rightful status as employees. Thirty-seven workers, supported by the Fagforbundet trade union, have launched legal proceedings against the company which has denied them employment rights by classifying them as consultants rather than employees (see epsucob@NEWS 16 and 17, 2018). The trade union accuses the company of trying to intimidate individual workers and employing teams of highly-paid lawyers to try to block their claims in the court. A case involving 24 of the 37 workers will be heard in the Oslo District Court on 14 January.