2017 December epsucob@NEWS 22
IN THIS ISSUE
- Spain: public employees protest
- Greece: anti-austerity general strike
- Netherlands: two-year deal in waste sector
- Austria: 2.33% for public sector workers
- Italy: doctors strike over pay, training and funding
- Ireland: strike ballot for social service workers
- Germany: sector agreement needed in social services
- Europe: childcare unions debate quality employment
- Switzerland: regional employees in pay demo
- Europe:ETUC - more evidence of need for pay rise
- Finland: bargaining priorities in private social services
- Europe: guide on shorter working hours
- Slovenia: security and intelligence staff strike
Dec. 14, 2017 After four rounds of negotiations public service trade unions have secured a 2.33% increase for workers covered by the main national public sector pay negotiations. The increase was endorsed by Parliament on 13 December. This is the highest pay rise for six years and just ahead of the latest figure for inflation of 2.2% (year to October).
Dec. 14, 2017 On 11 December hundreds of employees of the Zürich cantonal (regional) government mobilised in a demonstration over pay. Their union, vpod/ssp, said that a survey of members had revealed widespread dissatisfaction over pay and the loss of purchasing power over recent years. A key negotating demand from the unions as a first step in restoring real pay levels is a 2% increase for all workers earning up to CH FR 100000 a year, with a 1% increase for those earning above that level.
Dec. 14, 2017 The ver.di services union is arguing that a sector pay agreement is needed to cover workers involved in childcare, youth and family work and care for the disabled. It says that the problem faced by the sector is that many welfare-based and private providers fail to pay decent wages with some pay rates as much as a third less than those that apply in the public sector agreements. Ver.di is highly critical of low-paying employers who don't recognise that urgent action is needed to address the shortage of skilled staff, with an estimate that kindergartens alone will face a shortfall of 329000 workers by 2025.
Dec. 14, 2017 Negotiations covering the public sector are due to begin in early January and unions have included action on equal pay as a priority. They want the employers to agree higher increases for sectors dominated by women. Unions say that comparing similar jobs requiring the same qualifications and training shows that those in sectors dominated by women are paid less than in a sector dominated by men. The FOA public services union argues this is an historic demand that requires coordinated action and it is pleased that has got the support of the many other unions in the public sector bargaining group.
Dec. 14, 2017 The JHL public services union is developing its bargaining claims across 55 national, sectoral agreements and 40 at agency and other levels. Negotiations are already underway in private social services where the union says the priority issues are pay rates and holiday entitlement that fall below public sector levels and excessive use of zero-hours contracts. This is despite the fact that the big private sector employers are making large profits.
Dec. 15, 2017 The FNV trade union has welcomed a new two-year agreement covering 7000 workers in the waste and environment sector. Pay will increase by 6% over the two years but with a EUR 900 flat-rate increase in the second year it will mean that lower paid workers will see wages rise by 7.5%. There is also a commitment to provide permanent contracts for 360 temporary workers, to reduce hours for older staff while taking on young workers and paid partner leave at the birth of a child will now be a minimum of four weeks. Private sector waste workers are covered by a separate (transport) three-year agreement signed earlier this year with a 2% pay increase a year plus additions for specific jobs.
Dec. 15, 2017 Unions report a high level of support - 70%-80% in some areas - for the strike by doctors and health managers on 12 December. The action involved many organisations in the sector including FP-CGIL, UIL-FPL and CISL Medici. The strike was called in support of negotiations to renew doctors' contracts after eight years without any bargaining. But the unions are also raising issues around precarious work and training for young doctors as well as the issue of funding. The unions are criticising the government for failing to increase health funding as a percentage of GDP.
Dec. 15, 2017 A new guide from the European Trade Union Institute, produced with the support of EPSU, examines the question of working time reduction. It looks at recent trends, noting that the issue has dropped off the bargaining agenda for many unions. This guide runs through the different reasons for implementing such a reduction, and the ways in which it can be organised. It includes several case studies and many other examples, going back to some of the earliest initiatives that recognised the safety and productivity benefits of the shorter working day and week.
Dec. 15, 2017 The ETUC quotes new research from the Eurofound agency showing that in 11 EU Member States over a half of people say that have difficulty making ends meet. This is further evidence of the important of the ETUC's pay rise campaign and undermines any complacency about the impact of the current economic recovery. The survey also reveals that households in seven countries say that they are no better off than they were in 2007 before the financial and economic crisis.
Dec. 15, 2017 Unions organising childcare workers met in Brussels to exchange information on some of the main challenges they face to improve the quality of employment in the sector. Low pay, undervaluing of childcare work, precarious employment, work intensification, health and safety, staff shortages and inadequate career development were among the issues facing many unions in the sector.
Dec. 15, 2017 In its continuing campaign to secure fair pay for health and social care staff, the SIPTU trade union will be balloting members who work for so-called Section 39 organisations for strike action. As reported in epsucob@NEWS 20 in November, these are organisations that receive government funding but where workers have been denied the pay restoration measures applied to directly employed public sector staff. Around 10000 workers are affected.
Dec. 15, 2017 A 24-hour strike called by the ADEDY and GSEE confederations on 14 December had widespread impact on public services across the country. The confederations were protesting at further austerity measures with plans for cuts in pensions and take-home pay as well as threats to the right to strike. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Dec. 15, 2017 Around 10000 workers joined a demonstration in Madrid on 14 December called by the CCOO and UGT trade unions as part of their campaign to win back rights for the three million public sector workers who have been hit by austerity measures. Public services have been hit by job cuts while workers have seen their hours increased and pay fall by 13% in real terms since 2010. EPSU president Isolde Kunkel-Weber joined the march and expressed solidarity on behalf of EPSU.
Dec. 15, 2017 Public sector cuts have even had an impact on intelligence and security staff with strike action announced for 6 December. The union representing staff in the agency say the dispute is over poor pay and working conditions as well as the need for increased employment in the agency, the evaluation of posts and implementation of social dialogue.