Sep. 12, 2019 Members of public services union Forsa who work as school secretaries (head of administration in schools) have voted with a nine-to-one majority to take industrial action from 20 September. The secretaries have a long-standing issue over a two-tier system that leaves most of them who are employed by schools on low pay and without other benefits such as sick pay and pensions. In contrast, a minority are directly employed public servants who benefit from much better pay and conditions. The action will mainly consist of a work-to-rule.
Aug. 22, 2019 Latest figures on public sector employment show that the overall level has still not recovered from the impact of austerity with 112100 fewer in public sector employment than in 2011. The data also show the scale of the two major problems facing the sector - a continuing high level of temporary contracts (28.2%) and an ageing workforce. Workers aged under 30 make up only 7% of the workforce with those over 50 accounting for 43.6%. Young workers are also more than three times as likely to be on a temporary contract (78.9%).
Aug. 08, 2019 Nine trade unions organising in the public services - CGT, CFDT, FO, UNSA, FSU, Solidaires, CFE-CGT, CFTC and FA-FP - have stated that they will continue to oppose the measures that are set to be implemented by the law on transforming the public sector that was voted through by the Senate on 23 July. The unions argue that the legislation will make it more difficult for them to protect workers' interests as it will weaken joint administrative committees and abolish committees dealing with health and safety and working conditions. They also warn that it will lead to more temporary employment and limit workers access to permanent contracts or civil service status. The unions are urging the government to engage in a proper process of social dialogue. The nine organisations are due to meet on 5 September to consider their next steps also in regard to pay and pensions.
Jul. 24, 2019 There have been two important developments covering health workers. The first is a new collective agreement after 10 years covering around 130000 doctors and managers in the national health service. The new agreement includes the EUR 200 a month increase enjoyed by public service workers in general but there are additional benefits for young doctors and additional payments linked to length of service. On-call night payments will increase from EUR 50 to EUR 100 (EUR 120 for emergency workers). There will be a joint initiative on well-being and measures to tackle violence against staff. In a separate development, public service unions have negotiated to ensure that 3000 health researchers on precarious contracts are covered by the main public health collective agreement.
Jun. 27, 2019 The health section of the CCOO confederation has made a major breakthrough by negotiating the first collective agreement covering researchers working for the biomedical research foundations of the Madrid health service. Around 1200 researchers will be covered by the agreement which will link their salaries to the pay structure of the Madrid health service. An important element of the agreement will be tackling the excessive use of temporary contracts. Up to 90% of the researchers are on temporary contracts and around a third of contracts are thought by the union to be illegal.
Apr. 30, 2019
This article summarises the main topics addressed at the meeting as well as the major decisions taken at the 50th edition of the EPSU Standing Committee "Health and Social Services" (SC HSS) on 27 February.
Apr. 30, 2019 An analysis by the GMB trade union reveals that care workers in the private sector are three times more likely to be on a zero hours contract than those in the public sector. It also finds that employees of private care companies are paid 17% less on average than their public sector counterparts and four in ten leave their job every year. Over 50% per cent of private carers have no relevant social care qualifications, compared with less than 20% in the public sector. The union highlights the underlying problem of underfunding of the sector, an issue which it says is becoming more acute as evidenced by the possible collapse of one of the country's biggest care providers, Four Seasons, which employs 20000 workers.
Apr. 16, 2019 The ETUC has published a report examining legal issues arising from new forms of employment. It hopes that it will make an important contribution to the debate around what action to take to provide protection for workers who fall outside the normal framework of labour and social legislation. The legal experts who compiled the report included a proposal for a new “personal work relation” that might help tackle these issues.
Mar. 28, 2019 Non-teaching staff at schools across the country took strike action on 21-22 March with support increasing on the second day and many schools closing. The unions are calling for action on low pay noting that with the recent increase in the minimum wage new workers are now often earning as much as staff with 20 years' service. The unions want to see a proper career structure put in place and measures to reduce precarious employment in order to recognise the contribution that these workers make to the education system.
Feb. 14, 2019 National strike action across the public sector took place on 14-15 February as unions pushed the government to end its austerity measures that have taken a toll on public service workers. Unions in the FESAP federation took action over the two days while the Frente Comum group of unions joined on 15th. The unions have some common demands, particularly the urgent need to end the pay freeze and provide a pay increase for all public service workers. Other demands covered career progression, training and action to tackle precarious employment. EPSU sent solidarity messages.
Feb. 14, 2019 The ETUC has welcomed elements of the latest version of the draft Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions but is disappointed that some hoped-for rights, such as a ban on zero-hours contracts, have not materialised. It notes the new rights in relation to training, probation, payment for cancelled shifts and working for more than one employer. The ETUC was also calling for the right for precarious workers to transfer to more secure forms of employment and is disappointed that workers on fewer than 12 hours a month will be excluded. EPSU reacted similarly but also underlined its concern that the Directive includes a loophole that would allow a broad range of public service workers to be denied certain rights.
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.
Feb. 08, 2019
On 7 February, the European Parliament, European Commission and European Council (national governments) reached an agreement on the proposed Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive.
Jan. 29, 2019 The Frente Comum and FESAP federations of public service unions are planning national strike action on 15 February with FESAP unions also mobilising on the 14th. The unions have a broad range of demands on the government leading with the priority of ending the long-running pay freeze and tackling low pay. They also want government commitments on pensions, career progression and an end to precarious employment. The unions further underline the need to invest in quality public services rather than undermine them through privatisation.