2017 February epsucob@NEWS 03
(February 2017) Health support staff organised by the SIPTU union have voted 94% in favour of strike action in a dispute over job evaluation and payments to interns. The union argues that after 15 months of negotiations health employers have failed to abide by specific provisions in the national public sector agreements and have granted certain concessions to nurses in emergency units that have been denied to health support staff.
(February 2017) The vpod public service union has won a court case against the Canton of Zürich which had refused to recognise the trade union as a negotiating partner, agreeing only to negotiate with the VPV federation of unions that vpod had been a member of over10 years ago. The union says it will continue to defend its right to negotiate even if the Canton appeals the case to the federal or European court.
(February 2017) The main public sector federations of CCOO and UGT, along with the CSIF federation, met with the ministers of finance and public administration on 14 February with the government indicating its willingness to negotiate. The unions listed their priorities for the coming negotations underling the need to clearly re-establish the right to collective bargaining, to gradually recoup the purchasing power of workers lost over the years since the crisis and to boost public employment by filling the 365000 vacancies that are part of the budgeted establishment.
(February 2017) The European Trade Union Confederation launched its "Europe needs a pay rise" campaign at a conference in Brussels on 14-15 February. A wide range of speakers underlined the need for workers' pay to catch up with productivity developments, arguing in particular that a sustainable economic recovery across Europe depended on a boost to workers' pay. The other key elements of the campaign highlighted at the conference was the need to close the pay gap between workers in Eastern and Western Europe and the continuing action required to tackle gender pay inequality.
(February 2017) The vida and GPA-djp service unions have negotiated a new agreement covering 5000 workers employed by Diakonie Austria, the church-based care provider. The pay increase of 1.9% is ahead of the 0.9% average inflation rate recorded in 2016. In addition there are improvements to and protection of the rights of workers taking parental leave which the unions say will particularly benefit the significant number of part-time women workers with childcare needs.
(February 2017) Negotiators in the private manufacturing sector signed a new three-year deal last month. This is seen as a key agreement setting the pace for negotiations in other sectors. In the public services, the FOA union noted in particular the proposals for new funding and rights for workers for training as well as improved parental leave. FOA also underlines the flat-rate, two-crown (EUR 0.3) increase in the minimum hourly pay rates in each of the three years of the agreement. Which will take the minimum to DKK 117.65 (EUR 16.1) by 2019.
(February 2017) The Eurofound research agency has published a new analysis of minimum wage rates across the EU noting the increase in rates, particularly across Eastern Europe. The article confirms, however, that there is still a wide range of rates across the continent, ranging from EUR 1999 in Luxembourg to EUR 238 in Bulgaria. Of the 22 EU countries with statutory minimum wages all have seen an increase in real terms since 2010 with the exception of Greece where the Troika pressured a previous government to cut the rate substantially.
(February 2017) The OSZSP healthworkers' union announced strike action on 8 February in the emergency services in the South Moravia region. The union there had been trying to resolve a number of issues including excessive workloads, staff shortages, problems with implementing the collective agreement and discrimination in pay. The strike action was called after management not only failed to propose any concrete solutions but took decisions that only worsened the situation.
(February 2017) The latest issue of the ETUI's collective bargaining newsletter covers a wide range of sector and general news on pay and conditions. This month there are several articles on minimum wage developments - Austria, Germany, Portugal and Slovenia - as well as the debate at European level. Nurses' pay features in articles from Ireland and the Czech Republic and working time - in terms of shorter hours and gender differences is covered in stories from Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden.
(February 2017) Workers employed by the Karbel municipal company in Karabağlart in the Izmir province in western Turkey took strike action at the end of January and won an improved pay offer from the employer. Wages will rise by 9% this year and there is an inflation-plus formula for the second year of the agreement. Other allowances will also increase. EPSU sent solidarity greetings underlining the workers' determination to assert their right to take action even during a period when the government has threatened to ban strikes.
(February 2017) The FP-CGIL public services federation has called on the government to stop the planned reorganisation of the fire service and to consult properly with the unions about any proposals to change the role and organisation of the service and the pay and working conditions of employees. The union says that the government has ignored the opinitons of the union over plans to restructure the service and reduce its autonomy by giving a role to the local prefecture.
(February 2017) Public services union UNISON continues to campaign against the pay cuts imposed on teaching assistants in Derby in central England. This week will see the union out on the streets every lunchtime to urge citizens and workers to sign a petition calling on the municipality to return to the negotiating table and to recognise the valuable work being done by this group of workers. The week-long action coincides with the general week of campaigning in support of trade unions organised by the TUC confederation.
The FNV trade union has submitted proposals to the government to set staffing levels in eldercare. The union wants to see two workers for every eight residents and emphasises that there should be a balance of different skill levels. FNV argues that this is a crucial measure that will help improve recruitment and retention in the sector by ensuring that workers are not overworked and have enough time to spend with clients.
(February 2017) After a five-year pay freeze (2010-2014), workers of the European Institutions are to get a 3.3 % net increase on their salaries, for 2016. Union Syndicale Fédérale, the main union in the sector, had negotiated a formula for annual salary increases procedure that takes inflation and the evolution of purchasing power of central government officials in the Member States as a basis. This has been in force for roughly 35 years, covering the roughly 70 000 officials, other servants, and pensioners of the EU Institutions.. As measure of austerity, this method was suspended for a 5
(February 2017) Services union ver.di has been organising warning strikes and protests to demonstrate the level of support for its negotiations with the regional government employers. Ver.di, along with the education and police trade unions, is seeking a 6% pay increase. The union says that pay trends since 2000 have created a gap of more than 10% between regional government employees and industrial sector workers.