2016 November epsucob@NEWS 15
(November 2016) The FNV union's welfare and care section has published survey evidence showing the extent to which hospital workers are under pressure from high workloads, staff shortages and higher demands in terms of the quality and complexity of care. The survey found that nearly one in two workers are considering finding a job ouside the sector, with workload, pay and work-life balance among the main reasons for dissatisfaction. The FNV will be preparing it collective demands for the sector and will be fousing on workloads and how to increase staff recruitment into the sector, especially
(November 2016) Employees at the European Patent Office (EPO) in The Hague organised a march on 24 November in protest against further anti-union action by the EPO's President Benoit Battistelli. The staff union SUEPO organised a protest against Battistelli early in 2016 after he sacked union representatives and the latest incident involves the dismissal of Laurent Prunier, elected member of the Central Staff Committee and Secretary of SUEPO. The union received the support of the Dutch confederation FNV and the matter will also be discussed in the Dutch parliament.
(November 2016) Service union ver.di has taken two initiatives to tackle staff shortages in hospitals and eldercare. As the first step in a national campaign, the union has called on all 21 hospitals in the Saarland region, whether public, private or non-profit, to negotiate agreements to increase staff, regulate working time and reduce workloads.Meanwhile, ver.di also launched a postcard campaign to highlight the vital work done by employees in eldercare institutions who are similarly facing increasing pressure of work and a major shortage of staff.
(November 2016) Four of the trade union organisations in public services (CGT, FAFP, FSU and Solidaires) are mobilising for a day of action on 29 November. They are raising a number of long-standing demands including pay increases to compensate for loss of purchasing power since 2010, action to improve pay for jobs and sectors dominated by women to close the gender pay gap and measures to reduce precarious working conditions and defend working time arrangements.
(November 2016) The IMPACT public services union joined with the Association of Childcare Professionals in a demonstration on 15 November calling for increased funding for childcare services. The union also called for improved pay and conditions for childcare workers many of whom face low pay and precarious working conditions, leading to a situation where staff turnover in the sector is over 20%. The SIPTU trade union supported a similar call earlier in the month in collaboration with children's organisations.
(November 2016) Public sector unions in the CCOO and UGT confederations have been meeting with parties across the political spectrum to highlight their key demands for new statutes covering all public sector workers.They are calling for a pay increase for all workers in 2017 and reinstatement of cuts to pay and conditions imposed since the crisis. They also want to see steps taken to reduce precarious employment and specifically measures in line with the recent European Court of Justice ruling to address the abuse of temporary contracts.
(November 2016) Teaching assistants in County Durham in North-East England have taken strike action for the second time in protest at the local authority's decision to put them on term-time only contracts. This means workers facing pay cuts of up to 23%. Following the two-day action on 23 and 24 November the teaching assistants will continue their industrial action by working strictly to contract. Some teaching assistants are members of the GMB union and voted earlier to accept an offer from the employers.
(November 2016) A common front of trade unions in the non-profit sector organised a national demonstration on 24 November in opposition to continuing austerity and in support of new collective agreements. The sector, with over 525000 workers, covers a broad range of health, social and cultural services. The trade unions are calling for more jobs, a real pay increase and other measures to ensure qualiity employment and quality services, particularly to improve work-life balance, particularly for workers coming up to retirement.
(November 2016) Energy unions have agreed a new collective agreement and ended their strike over rest periods. The new collective agreement increases minimum wage rates and allows for local bargaining around a 2.4% pay increase. The strike was over an attempt by the employers' organisation to reduce rest periods for workers who have been on call. In the end it was agreed to negotiate this at company level where the unions are positive about maintaining the appropriate rest periods.
(November 2016) The Sanitas health union has been maintaining its protests and picketing of the Ministry of Health in support of the negotiations for a new collective agreement. The union wants to see a number of key improvements in the agreement and compliance with regulations on additional pay for night and weekend work. The union has also raised the question of equal pay for equal work, highlighting examples where health staff doing the same job are paid different rates depending on the institution they work for.
(November 2016) The GPA-djp and vida services unions have indicated the main collective bargaining aims as negotiations get underway in the private health and social care sector which covers over 100000 workers. The unions want a real increase in pay for all workers and particular for a range of care professions where additional competences have been outlined in revised legislation. The unions also want shorter hours for many workers to establish the 35-hour week in the sector while at the same time allowing the many, mainly women workers, on part-time contracts to increase their hours if they
(November 2016) The annual report on wages from the LO trade union confederation shows that workers have benefitted from real wage increases over the past 20 years. However, the report also reveals that the gender pay gap remains persistently high at 15% while the gap between pay for blue and white collar workers has increased and is now at 47%, a level not seen since the 1930s.
(November 2016) Thousands of workers in the forestry service have launched legal actions opposing their loss of rights resulting from the militarisation of the service. The trade unions are combining this with their continuing campaign against the change. They argue that 7000 workers will lose their civilian status and full trade union rights. But the unions are also concerned about the impact on services as a result of the underminging of the wealth of expertise and professionalism that guarantees environmental and food safety.
(November 2016) On 18 November, local government union STAL and other trade unions in the CGTP confederation will mobilise for a national march calling for a reversal of the austerity measures imposed on public service workers. The key demands include restoration of pay for workers with salaries above EUR 1500, unblocking of career progression and a return to the 35-hour week for those groups of workers who remain on the 40-hour week imposed as part of austerity. Unions in the UGT confederation, with similar demands took their protests to the prime minister on 17 November.
(November 2016) EPSU has written a letter to the prime minister of Armenia to protest at plans to cut up to 30% of jobs in the public services. The letter also criticises the government for failing to carry out any consultation with trade unions on the planned restructuring. EPSU argues that the planned cuts will not resolve the economic problems facing the country and calls on the government to consult with all stakeholders.