2016 October epsucob@NEWS 13
(October 2016) The ST trade union has negotiated a new collective agreement covering around 100000 workers in the state sector. It provides for pay increases of 2.2% in the year to 30 September 2017. There are other important elements regarding working conditions including action to deal with stress and violence at work and special measures to provide support for overworked managers.
(October 2016) The POEDHN health workers' union, supported by the ADEDY civil service federation, organised a caravan of health across Athens on 6 October. The march took in the major hospitals in the country and ended up at the ministry of health calling for urgent action to increase funding for the service which has been badly hit by austerity measures, with major problems of understaffing.
(October 2016) In response to the latest European Commission consultation the ETUC has said that it is willing to negotiate with employer organisations on work-life balance and specifically to improve the current parental leave agreement. The ETUC would also be ready to negotiate an agreement on paternity leave, as this was one of the matters that we proposed to address in the context of the autonomous work programme of the EU social partners 2015 - 2017.
(October 2016) The vpod/ssp publicservices union has called a national action day on 3 November in protest at inadequate staffing, increasingly precarious working conditions and attacks on collective agreements in hospitals. The demands also include a fairer pay system and unfreezing of pay. The union is also critical of the new system of hospital financing and is calling for better services rather than higher hospital profits.
(October 2016) The SNLP union representing prison staff has been organising a series of protests over serious staffing shortages and very high levels of uncompensated overtime. The prison service needs around 8000 extra staff and the union warns that this not only raises serious health and safety issues but undermines attempts at rehabilitation.
(October 2016) A new study from the ETUI trade union research insititute argues that the EU Takeover Bids Directive needs to be revised, as it does not provide an adequate level of workers’ rights in its current form.The report includes case studies of takeovers as well as analyses of national legal frameworks regulating takeovers and of transversal issues related to takeovers.
(October 2016) Over 1000 teaching assistants, Unison members employed by Derbyshire council council in central England, took another day of strike action on 6 October in their struggle to stop the council imposing pay cuts of up to 25% (see previous issue of epsucob@NEWS). This is their fourth strike during their eighth week of action.
(October 2016) The latest issue of the ETUI's collective bargaining newsletter includes several articles about developments in the public services, with a potential pay dispute in Croatia, privatisation plans in Greece, pay and holidays in Malta, doctors' strike in Norway, healthworkers' pay in Poland and meeting on migration between PSI and Swedish minister.
(October 2017) The SIPTU general union has welcomed the recent government initiative to boost the provision of subsidised childcare.but again has made a call for urgent action on pay for workers in the early years sector. The union points out that many workers are on term-time contracts and so are only paid 38 weeks of the years with many on an hourly rate below the living wage.
(October 2016) The three main confederations - CGIL, CSIL and UIL - jointly organised a national demonstration on 30 September which was well supported by employees of Chambers of Commerce from around the country. The publicly run system is set to be restructured (see epsucob@NEWS 10) and the unions are campaigning to defend the jobs and the employment rights of the workers affected.
(October 2016) Four union organisations - CCOO, UGT, FSES and CSI-F - are calling for changes in the framework statute covering public sector workers to take account of the recent European Court of Justice ruling on temporary contracts (see last issue of epsucob@NEWS). The ruling related to staff in the health sector in particular and unions want to see changes that ensure that structural staffing needs are covered by permanent jobs and an end to the replacement rates that have reduced employee numbers in recent years.
(October 2016) Energy unions have stepped up their industrial action against the KS employers' organisation as they attempt to fight off plans to cut rest days from three to two following seven-day periods on stand-by. The unions argue that maintaining the grid network is demanding work and the rest period is crucial to enable workers to recuperate. The intenfication of the strike action may lead to power cuts but the unions will ensure emergency provision where necessary.
(October 2016) The ver.di services union argues that workers and works councils need to have a say in any planned digitalisation of public services. The messages comes after the publication by the interior ministry of an assessment of a project on e-government. Ver.di contacted eight of the local authorities that had been part of the project and found that works councils, workers and their unions had not had any role in the process. The union also called for investment in training for public sector staff as part of process to avoid outsourcing.
(October 2016) Unions organising in the private social care sector (vida and GPA-djp) delivered a 6.4 km scarf to the finance ministry to make their point about the need for more social warmth. The scarf was knitted by unions members and some of the peopel they care for and the messages from the unions was that the sector needs increased funding and action to tackle below average earnings, inadequate staffing, irregular working hours and excessive physical and mental burdens.
(October 2016) Public services unions FOA reports that two private care companies, Intensiv Pleje and AK Service, have gone bankrupt leaving local municipalities to sort out the mess and ensure continued care for the companies' clients and employment for the workers affected. FOA says this takes the total of care company bankruptcies to nine this year and calls for urgent action to tackle the problem, including social clauses in procurement.