2017 January epsucob@NEWS 02
(January 2017) The latest issue of the European Trade Union Institute's health and safety journal, HesaMag, contains an analysis of the state of labour inspection services across Europe. It finds that, with few exceptions, workforces have been cut while inspectors have been assigned more extensive duties. Labour inspectors have to deal ith many new pressures and risks associated with digitalisation, nanotechnologies, psychosocial stress,working in a context of hostility towards state regulation and monitoring of companies.
(January 2017) Member of five trade unions organising in the energy sector, CGT, CFDT, FO, CFE-CGC and CFTC, called for strike action on 31 January in protest at the employers' attempt to freeze pay in the sector. The unions say that workers will not pay the price of restructuring in the sector and want immediate negotiations on pay. They also call on the government (the majority shareholder in the major energy companies EDF and ENGIE) to come up with an industrial strategy for the sector. EPSU sent a message of support.
(January 2017) EPSU has sent a message of support to four members of the HVDSZ 2000 municipal and waste union who were sacked by their employer, FKFzrt. The four are part of a collective bargaining negotiating team and were paid by company as part of a normal arrangement but which the company now claims contravenes the law on independent unions. The union, supported by its confederation MASZSZ, has set up an online campaign backed by the Labourstart website.
(January 2017) The Eurofound agency has published an article looking at the extent to which the social partners are part of the national debates on digital change. The study covers the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Spain. Its assessment is that national digital debates are currently at a national level and do not yet translate into implementation at sectoral or company level in all five countries, with evidence of only a few collective agreements under negotiation in Germany.
(January 2017) The European Commission has announced that it will issue an Interpretative Communication on the Working Time Directive. This means that, at least for the time being, the Commission has no plans to launch a revision of the Directive. The Communication will bring together information on the major European Court of Justice rulings on the Directive and include other information that the Commission says will help clarify issues and aid implementation. The initial reaction of the ETUC delegation that was invited to a meeting at very short notice was that this could be a positive
(January 2017) The European Trade Union Institute has launched a new online service that will monitor developments in labour markets, pension reforms and strike activities as well as changes to legislation on industrial action. The Reforms Watch information service includes country files and will be updated through regular news reports. This is also linked to existing information on collective bargaining and industrial relations.
(January 2017) School support staff in Derbyshire in central England have been involved in two further weeks of strike action in protest at the local authority's decision to cut their pay by up to 25%. The workers, members of the UNISON trade union, took action at the end of last year in a dispute that began over seven months ago (see epsucob@NEWS 14 and 15 October and November 2016).
(January 2017) Services union ver.di coordinated a warning strike in all 21 hospitals in the Saarland region as part of a campaign to negotiate agreements with the hospital employers to deal with overwork and understaffing. The union will be meeting with employers in February to discuss the situation but has warned that further action will follow if the employers refuse to get involved in meaningful negotiations. A major demonstration is planned for International Women's Day on 8 March.
(January 2017) Using the latest official figures, the FSC-CCOO federation warns of the growing crisis in the prisons sector with over 2800 posts unfilled. Some prisons face higher than average shortages and the union warns of the health and safety threat posed both to prison workers and inmates. Projections also show that without urgent action a quarter of the workforce will be over 60 by 2020. The union is concerned that staff shortages will contribute to pressure to privatise some services. This critical situation also featured in a session at the EPSU collective bargaining conference in
(January 2017) White-collar union Vision has set out its main bargaining demands in its negotiations with the KFS organisation for local enterprises. The union wants to see competitive salaries and action to improve well-being at work. It also wants employees to be on permanent contracts with employers providing objective justifications for any use of fixed-term contracts of agency staff. Longer paid holidays, individual working time accounts and shorter hours for workers in establishment requiring 24-hour cover are also among the demands.
(January 2017) The vida private services union is calling for a EUR 1500 minimum wage in collective agreements across the private sector. The union says that over 350000 workers are covered by collective agreements where the minimum wage is below EUR 1500, two thirds of these workers are women. The agreements include some in the private care and health service sectors. Once the EUR 1500 is reached then the next step will the the EUR 1700 target set by the OEGB trade union confederation.
(January 2017) The FP CGIL public services federation has analysed employment data to show the impact of job cuts and recruitment freezes. It estimates that there are some 237000 fewer public sector jobs than in 2007 while the health service has seen a fall of 50000 jobs since 2009. The recruitment freeze has also contributed to an ageing workforce with average ages across the public sector over 50 and rising. The union wants to see these issues addressed in collective bargaining with an urgent need to recruit young workers and for action on staffing levels in the health service.The CISL FP
(January 2017) The SIPTU services union is balloting health workers in selected hospitals over industrial action. The union is unhappy that important provisions in the main public sector agreements, particularly job evaluation, have been applied to nurses in emergency departments but not to other workers. The union said that it opted for the ballot for action after 15 months of negotiations had failed to deliver any progress. The result of the ballot is due on 13 February.
(January 2017) Public services JHL has drawn attention to the evidence showing the benefits of improved well-being at work. The union cites research estimating that sickness absence, accidents at work and occupational diseases cost the economy cost the economy EUR 2 billion a month. Effective measures to deal with these will reduce these costs and boost productivity. The union argues that this is particularly important at a time when health and social service staff are already facing excessive workloads and now also have to deal with a major restructuring of the sector.
(January 2017) There was strong support for a health workers' strike on 20 January with unions calling for action on pay, career development and the application of the 35-hour week for all public service workers. On 3 February non-teaching staff in schools and kindergartens plan a 24-hour strike with demands to tackle precarious employment, to increase recruitment and create a proper career structure.