Public service trade unions Fórsa, SIPTU and INMO have welcomed the decision to pay a €1000 tax-free bonus to all those who worked in clinical, COVID-exposed environments and in a separate development to reduce working time for public service workers to pre-austerity levels. From 1 July this year public servants working full-time will return to the 35-hour week that applied before 2013 when austerity measures were introduced in response to the 2008-09 economic and financial crisis. This decision is also seen as partly in recognition of the efforts made during the pandemic. The government has
Working Time, Precarious employment
Negotiating and campaigning on working time
After pay, working time is core collective bargaining issue but is also an important area of employment regulated by national and European legislation. EPSU has been very active in defending and calling for proper implementation of the Working Time Directive and is involved in current debates on working time. The why and how of working time reduction is a guide produced for EPSU by the European Trade Union Institute and examines long-term trends in working time, the arguments for reducing it and examples of how this has been achieved.
The Delta public services union is pleased that the government has come forward with a legislative proposal to make full-time work the norm. The union has been monitoring the situation closely and says that less than 20% of health professional jobs advertised since 2019 have been full-time positions. Delta will look in detail at the draft but says that the main provisions will mean that full-time work is prioritised and that employers will have to provide a justification for offering part-time work and discuss this with elected representatives. The proposals will also mean that extra hours
Childcare workers in the private sector who are covered by pay regulations rather than a collective agreement are getting a 3.2% pay increase following negotiations led by the GPA and vida trade unions. Meanwhile, full-time workers in private health and social care are now entitled to a 37-hour week as of 1 January. This was the result of earlier negotiations by the GPA and vida unions and reflects their long-running campaign to tackle overwork in the sectors. The unions are also determined to continue their efforts to reduce working time with a target of a 35-hour week.
The continuing demands imposed by the COVID pandemic are being addressed by municipal trade unions and employers through a new agreement setting out rules on overtime. The agreement will be applied locally if agreed between the local union and employer and provides for higher overtime rates and limits on overtime hours. Overtime rates are increased to 200% on normal days and 300% on weekends and holidays. The rates also apply to part-time workers above 20 hours a week. The agreement sets a range of daily, weekly and monthly limits to overtime hours.
The Kommunal municipal workers’ union reports that local government workers will get significant new benefits from agreements signed with the SKR and Sobona employer organisations. There will be access to more skills support and student grants to improve professional development, a substantial increase in the occupational pension and greater security for fixed-term employees who will be entitled to transfer to a permanent contract after one year rather than 18 months. A new pension agreement will apply from 1 January 2023 and Kommunal estimates that an increase in the provision of 1.5% will
Five health unions (CCOO, SATSE, ELA, LAB and UGT) are continuing to work together in a long-running campaign to secure increased funding for primary care in the Basque region. Their latest initiative involves demonstrations at health centres right across the region on 22 December. The unions are calling for action on staffing with the creation of 1000 new posts, the transfer of thousands of temporary workers to permanent contracts and an end to excessive use of temporary hiring. The unions are also calling on other campaign groups to join the protests.
The ETUC says that the proposed directive on platform work should deliver rights to platform workers, like paid holiday and sick pay, which have been standard for other workers for the best part of a century. The directive provides the possibility to ensure that platform workers get a secure contract and guaranteed wages rather than the fake self-employment with no protection, no pay between jobs or sick pay. The Directive can also ensure genuinely self-employed people are protected from subordination by platforms. The ETUC is concerned, however, that following heavy lobbying by the major
Trade unions and employer organisations in public services have reviewed the impact of the crisis agreement that was negotiated to regulate pay and conditions of employees working during critical events such as natural disasters, fires and floods, pandemics or acts of terrorism. It covers approximately 1.2 million employees in municipalities, regions and municipal companies, including healthcare, care, school, infrastructure and emergency services. Initially, negotiated following major forest fires, the agreement has also been implemented during the COVID pandemic. The review found it was
After a three-year legal dispute, the Fagforbundet public services union has secured a major victory when the Supreme Court's Appeals Committee refused to consider an appeal by the Stendi care company over its claim that 22 workers were self-employed and not employees. Now the 22 members of the union are set to get an average pay out of more than NOK 1 million (€100000) and the company faces further legal claims from another 50 workers. Fagforbundet general secretary and EPSU president Mette Nord said: "Our 22 members have fought a tough battle in three courts. They have been poorly treated
A survey by the FOA trade union found that 18% of its members in eldercare who work part-time would like to work longer hours. The union says that if they were to do this this it would effectively mean an additional 2100 jobs in the sector. FOA figures show a very high level of part-time work in the sector but with variations across municipalities. It argues that municipalities like Aalborg where weekly working time is 32 hours on average have clearly begun to address the problem but across the country the average is only 27.5 hours and as low as 25 hours in some municipalities. The FOA
The public service federations of the CCOO confederation coordinated mobilisations across the country on 10 November to put pressure on the government to negotiate over pay and conditions and public spending. The federations are determined to ensure that the pay and benefits lost following the last crisis are restored. They estimate that public sector workers saw their purchasing power fall by 11%-18%, with only 4% restored so far. The unions regard the 0.9% pay increase imposed for 2021 and the 2% proposed for 2022 as totally inadequate. They also want to see action on jobs and serious
The European Parliament (EP) has backed proposals to prevent platform companies from forcing workers into false self-employment and denying them rights to minimum wages, holiday and sick pay, and a secure employment contract. In recent years platform companies have lost a string of court cases over false self-employment, with the latest in the Netherlands where judges ruled “the legal relationship between Uber and these drivers meets all the characteristics of an employment contract.” The EP report supports a rebuttable presumption of an employment relationship for platform companies and
Nearly two out of three public employees are satisfied with the shortening of the working week, according to a survey reported by the BSRB public services federation. The results show that satisfaction is much higher among state and local government employees than among employees in other sectors. A total of 64% of civil servants say they are very or rather satisfied with the cut, with about 17% saying they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and about 18% saying they are very or rather dissatisfied. The difference between sectors appears to relate to the different way in which the cuts in
Nearly nine out of 10 workers in Scottish government support the move to a four-day week according to research by the Autonomy think tank. The report’s findings suggest that moving to a four-day week would boost productivity to such an extent that many departments could make the change without having to employ new staff. The research shows a range of benefits for the government, including better retention and recruitment of staff, being seen as a pioneer in setting new working time standards for the Scottish economy; and having a healthier workforce. PCS, the main civil service union, which is