2016 July epsucob@NEWS 08
(July 2016) Unions at the Orpea care company used the group's annual shareholders' meeting to raise concerns about pay and conditions and health and safety. The unions highlighted the fact that Orpea's profits have soared while workers have seen no pay rise since 2013, have to deal with excessive workloads and are more likely to be on fixed-term rather than permanent contracts. The union demands were directed at both management and shareholders, calling on the company to take on more staff, improve working conditions and ensure a high quality service. Read the statement at CGT (FR) and CFDT
(July 2016) Over 400 energy meter readers around the country took their second period of four-day strike action in protest at demands by the E.On company that they work 30 minutes extra three nights a week. The unions - Unite, Unison and GMB - are concerned about long working days and that the company won't stop there if the extra hours are agreed. Read more at Unite.
(July 2016) The FOA public services union estimates that over 1000 workers have been affected by bankruptices in the care home sector over the past three years. Workers are affected by uncertainty about jobs, pay and conditions. The collapse of Pareta Care that operates facilities in the Egedal local authority is the latest in a series of failures involving 22 companies since early 2013. The union reckons that over 9500 care home residents have been affected. Read more at FOA (DK).
(July 2016) This month sees the first increase in public sector pay for six years, but trade unions are not so impressed by the 0.6% rise in the index point on which salaries are calculated. A further rise of 0.6% will be implemented next year. According to one estimate public sector workers have lost between 10% and 15% of their purchasing power over the past five years - anything between EUR 200 and EUR 800 a month depending on job and length of service. The 0.6% increase will mean less thatn EUR 9 a month for an average administrative worker. Read more at CGT, FO, CFDT, UNSA (FR).
(July 2016) Trade unions organised a major protest with over 50000 joining the march against government plans to double energy prices and a the cost of a range of communal services. The unions have been calling for a range of alternative actions, including a 15% general pay rise, an increase to the minimum wage and a fair reform of the wages system. Read more at EPSU.
(July 2016) The secretary of state with responsibility for public administration has acknowledged the need to resume social dialogue on working conditions. The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT trade union federations have made clear some of their main aims in such negotiations. They want to see adequate funding for public sector jobs along with contracts that provide stability and continuity. They also want to start recuperating the cuts imposed in recent years inlcuding the 5% cut in salary from 2010, a return to the 35-hour week and an end to the replacement rate limiting the number of leavers who are
(July 2016) In separate votes, 87% of library staff and 93% of staff at the Centre Remedial Clinic (CRC) in Dublin have voted for industrial action. The CRC dispute is over plans to close the pension scheme while library workers in 13 local authority areas are concerned about the implications of plans to amalgamate services. The library restructuring decision has been taken without proper consultation with the union over the impact on staff. The CRC pension schemes was closed without consultation and with management refusing to provide the union with information. Read more on the library
(July 2016) Firefighters have been mobilising around the country and in some regions taking industrial action to defend their right to early retirement. In some regions firefighters have been handing in petitions to local authorities while in addition some firefighters have been dealing with emergency calls only. Firefighters currently have early retirement rights between 55 and 59 and want to resist the demand by employers to move to 60. Read more at FNV (NL).
(July 2016) Ambulance workers, members of the SIPTU union, have overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action. The union reports that its members have been through significant restructuring in recent years, without any recognition of this by management. The large majority in favour of action is in response of the failure of management to engage in negotations over implementation of an intermediate care service and an annualised hours system. Read more at SIPTU.
(July 2016) The latest collective bargaining newsletter from the ETUI includes several articles on public services - pay developments affecting health staff (Hungary, Romania) and public service workers in general (Croatia, Ireland), strike action by museum workers in UK and action by Bulgarian unions over the right to strike. Read more at ETUI (EN).
(July 2016) The ver.di services union organised a demonstration at the national health ministers' conference on 29 June calling for an increase in trained staff in the eldercare sector. The union argues that staff are already overworked and that the current level of staffing is completely inadequate to cope with future increased demand. Workers are committed to their job and many become ill and have to take time off work as a result of trying to manage excessive workloads. Ver.di also criticised private eldercare providers for calling for a reduction in the quota of trained staff. Read more at
(July 2016) The ETUC has joined with European employer organisaitons, the European Commission and the Dutch Presidency of the European Council in signing a statement supporting social dialogue at both national and European levels. The statement underlines the importance of the role of social partners, both national and European, in the Semester process and of the need to ensure implementation of European social dialogue agreements at national level. ETUC deputy general secretary Peter Scherrer said that the statement "does not solve the many problems faced by working people today, but it does
(July 2016) Workers in the waste sector, will take two days of strike action on 11-12 July in their continuing campaign over pay and conditions and health and safety. The unions, FP-CGIL, Fit Cisl, UilTrasporti and Fiadel, have already organised industrial action on 30 May and 15 June calling for a new collective agreement. The previous agreement expired at the end of 2013. The unions also want action to improve health and safety for the 100000 workers employed in both public and private waste sectors. Read more at FP-CGIL (IT).
(July 2016) Trade unions have welcomed the decision by President Dalia Grybauskaitė to veto the draft Labour Code. She said that the Code fails to provide adequate protections for workers and she has sent it back to Parliament with 22 suggested amendments. The unions have been campaigning against the Code since last autumn, warning of the impact of measures that would relax rules on working time and make it easier for employers to sack workers. Read more at Baltic Times (EN) and EPSU (EN).
(July 2016) Public sector workers have won back their right to a 35-hour week. Legislation came into effect earlier this month reversing the increase to 40 hours a week pushed through as part of a range of austerity measures in 2013. Most workers benefit immediately although implementation in some cases may be delayed to ensure continuity of service. Public sector unions have been waging a high-profile campaign against the five-hour increase, negotiating hundreds of local agreements across the public sector to retain the 35-hour week. Read more at CGTP (PT) and UGT (PT).