14-2007 epsucob@NEWS 27 July 2007
EPSU has joined forces with the ETUI-REHS research institute and the Swedish SALTSA research organisation to organise a conference on public services on 19-20 November in Brussels. Although the aim of the conference is to look at broader issues of public service and privatisation one of the workshop and plenary themes will focus on the impact of privatisation on collective bargaining and industrial relations. Read more at > EPSU (EN)
The EIRO industrial relations observatory has just published an overview of industrial relations in the central government and public sector across Europe. It describes the sectoral breakdown across countries and analyses the main employment trends. It looks at developments in employment relations and collective bargaining in the countries surveyed, highlighting the similarities and variations across the industrial relations systems in the sector. The study identifies a clear trend towards greater harmonisation between the public and private sector, and between career civil servants and
The latest report from the European Commission reveals the persistence of a gender pay gap across Europe. The latest figure is 15% in terms of average hourly pay. The report points out that the gender pay gap extends well beyond the question of equal pay for equal work. One of the main causes is the way women's competences are valued compared to men's. Jobs requiring similar qualifications or experience tend to be paid less when they are dominated by women than by men. Read more at > DG Employment (EN)
The French parliament will debate a new bill at the end of the month which will set minimum service requirements in the event of industrial action on the railways. French unions are concerned that this will be the first step in establishing similar requirements in other parts of the public sector. The unions counter that before laying down such requirements the government should try to establish improved processes for negotiation in order to avoid such conflicts in the first place. One of the proposals that unions are objecting to is the requirement that employees will have to declare 48 hours
Unions representing tax workers organised a demonstration on 18 July and are planning further action in September over pay differences in the inland revenue. Unions argue that there is too big a pay gap between tax inspectors and other workers and that the pay structure needs to be revised to create a fairer system. They also argue that opportunities for career progression also need to be more open to all employees in the service. [Read more at > FSAP-CCOO (ES)->http://www.fsap.ccoo.es/webfsap/menu.do?Actualidad:Sindical:Actualidad:6739] [And at > FSP-UGT (ES)->http://www.fspugt.es/index.php
The FSP-UGT and FSAP-CCOO public sector federations have signed an agreement with the secretary of state for social security paving the way for new early retirement rules for firefighters. The agreement establishes in principle that early retirement is permissible if firefighters have the required years of social security contributions. For example, retirement could be as early as age 59 if the firefighter has 35 years of contributions. The agreement marks the end of long period of negotiation and protest action by the two union federations. [Read more at > FSP-UGT (ES)->http://www.fspugt.es
PCS, the biggest civil service union, is carrying out an extensive consultation of its 280,000 civil service members over the next steps in its campaign to protect jobs and secure real increases in pay. The campaign kicked off in January this year with the first of two one-day national strikes. The campaign has also included action by specific groups of workers. The consultation runs until 3 September and the union has not rule further industrial action in the autumn if no progress is made in negotiations. Read more at > PCS (EN)
Abattoir workers are being called out on strike in protest at the public sector employers' organisation's attempts to introduce new pay arrangements. The VKA employers' organisation has refused to implement the 2003 and 2005 public sector pay agreements for abattoir workers which means they have lost out on pay increases worth 4.4% and lump sums totalling €1,150. The union has made numerous attempts to resolve the conflict but has now called for strike action as the employers have failed to make any concessions. Around 5,000 workers are affected by the dispute. [Read more at > ver.di (DE)-
The ver.di services union has begun to put its arguments together for the forthcoming pay round in the public sector. The union underlines the beginnings of a recovery in the German economy and contrasts the 4% rise in workers' income between 2000 and 2006 with the 38% rise in profits and property income during the same period. The current agreement covering local and federal government was signed in 2005 and runs from 1 October 2005 to 31 December 2007. However, it only included lump sum payments and there have been no increases on pay rates during the agreement. Ver.di is arguing that public
Pressure from EPSU affiliate, the Lithuanian Trade Unions of State Employees, has led to a new law implementing an increase in the base salary from 442 litas (€128) to 490 litas (€142). This is an increase of just under 11%.
On 12 July the interior minister Jüri Pihk and Kalle Liivamägi, chair of the ROTAL trade unions signed a social partnership agreement, the first in the Estonian state sector. The agreement covers consultations at all levels between the employers and trade union representatives. In the first stage they will meet in a number of different taskforces that will look at changes in working conditions, working time and salaries.
The ETUC has welcomed the European Parliament's verdict on the European Commission's green paper on labour law. The ETUC had already attacked the green paper for its focus on “modernisation” and “flexibility” and its failure to provide any response to the growing problem of precarious employment across Europe. The European Parliament, like the ETUC, wants to see greater account taken of the need to create quality jobs and to address issues such as equal treatment. Read more at > ETUC (EN) And at > ETUC (FR)