(June 2017) Embassy, tourist office and other international staff around the world are taking strike action to secure pay rises and end a long-term pay freeze that has seen wages in some countries fall to below national minima. Unions are looking for a 20% pay increase, arguing that in some countries inflation has meant a 40% loss of purchasing power for some workers. Action has taken place or is planned in several countries including Canada, Sweden, the United States and Argentina.
Embassy and other international staff strike for better pay
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(March 2017) The three main confederations - CGIL, CISL and UIL - have negotiated a new labour agreement that covers employees of embassies, consulates, legations, cultural institutes and other international organisations in Italy. The agreement runs for three years (2017-2019) and includes a 3.6% pay increase as well as a new mandatory payment by employers to the FIS Fund which provides benefits in the case of losing a job or having a cut in hours.
Around 300 hospital support workers, including catering, cleaning and portering staff, took strike action on 31 July in their campaign to get pay parity with National Health Service employees. The workers at three hospitals in North West England are employed by the multinational Compass and many of them are on the lowest pay rate of £8.21 (€8.95) an hour which is £0.82 (€0.90) less than the £9.03 (€9.85) minimum for NHS workers. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Workers at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, employed by the Aramark and Engie outsourcers, went on strike on 14 February in protest at low pay. Many of the cleaners, caterers, security and portering staff are on the official minimum wage (GBP 7.83 (EUR 8.90) for those aged 25 and over) but are demanding the unofficial living wage (GBP 10.55 an hour, EUR 12.00). Meanwhile, workers at the Historic Royal Palaces, including the Tower of London, took strike action on 6 February in protest at planned cuts to their pension scheme. The workers, members of the PCS and GMB