2017 April epsucob@NEWS 06
(April 2017) The European and International Trade Union Confederations wrote a joint letter to EU High Representative Federica Mogherini calling on the EU to raise the serious attacks on trade union rights in the EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Committee. The ETUC highlighted the detention, intimidation and arbitrary interrogation by the police of trade unionists because of their union activities urged the EU to demand that the Kazakh government ensure full respect for the right to freedom of association.
(April 2017) Unions from the three confederations came together on 27 March to organise strike action in support of their claims for around 20000 workers in private residential homes for the elderly. The four unions involved (Fp Cgil, Fisascat Cisl, Uiltucs Uil and Uil Fpl) have rejected proposals from the Anaste employers' organisation that involve an increase in working time and a small pay increase after several years of pay increases. The unions have a raft of proposals to improve the pay and working conditions in the sector underlining the need for quality work to ensure quality services
(April 2017) Trade unions have negotiated a one-hour cut to the working week without loss of pay. The standard working week will now be 42 hours although there is a prospect for a further cut to 41.5 hours in upcoming negotiations in the public sector. The initiative recognises that standard working hours are longer than most countries and action is needed to improve work-life balance.
(April 2017) The BDDSz childcare workers' trade union is supporting the ETUC's pay rise campaign. The union sees that many of the headline demands of the campaign - tackling low pay and the gender pay gap - fit with the union's priorities and it is encouraging members to show their support.
(April 2017) Beginning this month the municipal services union Kommunal will be investigating the employment and working conditions of cleaners, looking at their employment status, working hours as well as health and safety problems. The union will carry out a survey as well as making workplace visits to talk to workers and assess how they are affected by what are often seen as the main problems facing the sector - the impact of privatisation, lack of control over work - but also good examples where workers do have more control over working time and other working conditions.
(April 2017) The FNV union has criticised municipalities for making excessive use of temporary contracts and says it will make this a priority issue in upcoming negotiations. The union reports that four out of five temporary workers wants a permanent contract while over half say they are not paid the same as permanent workers doing the same job. Around 60% also say they don't get the same training opportunities.
(April 2017) All public service workers on less than €65000 a year benefit from higher pay scales as of 1 April. The €1000 increase has been brought forward and has been implemented as part of the restoration of pay cuts that were implemented from 2009. Next month a public service pay commission is due to report and then pay negotiations will begin which will include further steps to restore the pay cuts.
(April 2017) Health sector trade unions have attacked the latest pay increase proposal from the government appointed body that recommends pay awards - the NHS Pay Review Body. This marks the sixth year running that health sector pay rises have fallen behind inflation and unions are warning of the impact on recruitment and retention of healthworkers.
(April 2017) The KTAMS civil service union in Cyprus organised strike action in the Turkish News Agency at the end of March over the denial of promotion to certain Agency employees. This is an issue that the union has taken up with the government which has prevented the Agency management from carrying out the promotions.
(April 2017) The latest issue of the ETUI's collective bargaining newsletter includes articles on nurses' pay in Cyprus and doctors' pay in Slovenia and Romania; a pay increase for police, firefighters, customs staff and prison officers in the Czech Republic; action by museum workers in France and Greece; and action by energy workers in France and firefighters in Ireland.
(April 2017) Services union ver.di has signed a key agreement in Bremen that covers around 3200 eldercare workers employed by several non-profit care providers. The union sees this is as a significant step towards better collective bargaining coverage in the sector and helps remove pay and conditions as a factor in competition. Meanwhile the union has also negotiated two new agreements in the health sector, one provides a 7,3% pay increase for 3900 workers at the University Hospital in Leipzig and the other is a 5.1% pay increase for the 24000 employees in 36 hospitals run by the Helios
(April 2016) The European and International trade union confederations (ETUC and ITUC) have criticised the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for calling for further changes to Greek laws on strikes, collective bargaining and employment protection. The IMF demands have not been taken up by the European Commission and are not even supported by the Greek employers. An article by EPSU also highlights how the IMF position ignores the recommendations of a committee of experts that reported at the end of last year.
(April 2017) Public sector trade union federations have signed an historic agreement with the government that will see a massive reduction in precarious employment across the public sector. The deal means that over 300000 workers currently on some form of fixed-term employment will have the chance to move onto a permanent contract over the next three years. This is the result of the first major negotiations with the government since 2010. The unions underlined that they are still looking for an agreement on pay increases over the coming years that will compensate for the 15% loss of purchasing
(April 2016) The FSSHK health union organised protests at health institutions around the country on 31 March in order to put pressure on the employers with negotiations stalled. The union is campainging for a pay rise, better working conditions as well as an increase in staffing.
(April 2017) The BSRB public services union is promoting an pilot project on shorter weekly working time. Four workplaces, including police, revenue and immigration services have been selected to participate to examine whether shortening the work week will bring mutual benefit to employees and the employer. The pilot will last one year from 1 April and the hours worked by employees will be reduced from 40 to 36 per week without wage cuts to come. The project will examine the impact on quality and efficiency and staff morale and well being.