2017 March epsucob@NEWS 04
(March 2017) The vpod public services union says that unions need to resist proposals from a national commission for further deregulation of working time. The union warns that it the commission's recommendations are implemented this will lead to more overtime, more night work and more Sunday working. Vpod has also attacked the idea that certain categories of senior managers and specialists should be exempt from working time rules.
(March 2017) Public service union ver.di organised a national "take your break" day on 21 February for all hospital workers. The union wanted to make the point that understaffing and excessive workloads means that many healthcare staff miss their breaks because they want to ensure the level of care for patients. A survey by ver.di revealed that 70% of hospital workers on night shift said they didn't take any breaks. The action is organised across all public, private, welfare and church-run institutions.
(March 2017) The Supreme Court has ruled that energy company British Gas can no longer appeal against a European Court ruling that holiday pay should take account of earnings based on commission. The case has been supported by public services union Unison and is based on the Working Time Directive. The union challenged British Gas because it restricted holiday pay only to basic pay which penalised workers who received a lot of commission pay. Unison is concerned about the impact of Brexit on this important legislation.
(March 2017) A new report, produced jointly by the European Commission and the International Labour Organisation, shows that European countries with coordinated bargaining systems have managed to prevent the growth of inequalities on the labour market. At the same time the erosion of collective bargaining in other EU member states has led to more low-paid jobs or increasing inequality among the workforce. The report also looks at a range of other inequalities such as in working time, training etc.
(March 2017) Around 20000 workers in the private electricity sector saw their pay increase by 1.55% from 1 February following a new pay deal negotiated by the GPA-djp and PRO-GE trade unions. The increase is above the 0.9% average inflation rate for 2016. Trainees will also get the increase. The agreement includes a commitement to contiinue discussions about pay and job content, working in difficult circumstances as well as shift work and arduous work at different phases of the working career.
(March 2017) The FOA public services union has called for action to stop low cost bids for social care contracts require quality provision in the tenders. The union reports one recent example where municipalities have chosen a bid from a private company that involves DKK 10,000 less spending per client. The union argues that the situation has lead to bankruptcies as companies realise they can't meet the contract. This impacts on workers' jobs and is a challenge for FOA to ensure private companies sign up to the sector collective agreement.
(March 2017) A new report comparing elder care in the Nordic countries shows that the situation for workers in Sweden is has deteriorated with several elements worse than in other Nordic countries. The proportion of workers dissatisfied with their working hours is up to 41% from 29% in 2005 and eldercare workers in Sweden feel they have less change to develop their careers and less support from management. The increased workload means they have less time to spend with clients and are much more likely than 20 years ago to suffer from stress and physical exhaustion.
(March 2017) The FP-CGIL public service federation reports that it has made some gains in the current negotiations over pay and reforms to the fire service. An EUR 80 a month pay increase will be implemented while the union will continue to negotiate a new collective agreement. The federation has also had some influence of the restructuring proposals put forward by the government and is particularly please that the fire service will retain some autonomy and not come under the control of the local prefecture.
(March 2017) Four of the trade union federations in the public services (CGT, FO, Solidaires and FA-FP) have called a day of action on 7 March to call for higher pay for public sector workers and for better funding for health and other public services. The demands also include reform of careers to make public sector employment more attractive, an end to job cuts and defense of the statutory regime covering civil servant's pay and conditions.
(March 2017) A policy brief from the European Trade Union Institute examines the role of European works councils (EWCs) in restructuring. It finds that not only is there a problem ensuring that existing EWCs play a full role in the information and consultation process but that a significant number of major restructuring are carried out where there are no EWCs. The briefing highlights the need for better rights for EWCs as well as for a stronger role for trade unoins.
(March 2017) A joint report from the Eurofound agency and the International Labour Organisations examines the advantages and disadvantages of telework and puts forward some policy proposals on key issues. The report points to positive effects such as a shortening of commuting time, greater working time autonomy, better work–life balance, and higher productivity. However, it also notes the risks of longer working hours, interference between work and personal life, and work intensification, leading to high levels of stress.
(March 2017) Health and social care union Sanitas has again met with the Ministry of Health to make the case for bonuses to apply to all workers across the health and social care sectors and ensure that all workers in these sectors benefit from pay rises. The union is hoping for decrees to be issues to regulate this situation as soon as possible. The two sides will also shortly begin negotiations over a collective agreement for the sector.
(March 2017) A strike threat by 10,000 support workers was called off following concessions from health service management. A key victory won by the SIPTU trade union was agreement to start a process of job evaluatoin for support workers. The issue of pay increments for interns would be dealt with in the forthcoming public sector pay negotiations. There was no movement on ensuring that support workers get the same concessions as nursing staff in emergency services but SIPTU said it would continue to pursue this through the labour courts.
(March 2017) The LO confederation has called for work for all and fair distribution as unoins gear up for the 2017 bargaining round that will focus on pay. Fagforbundet, one of the main LO affiliates, has called for a real increase following last year's average 2.4% pay rise which left many workers worse off as inflation reached 3.2%. In tune with the message from the ETUC's pay rise campaign, Mette Nord, head of Fagforbundet and one of EPSU vice-presidents underlined the need for a pay rise that would benefit both workers and the economy.
(March 2017) After years of campaigning, workers in social care might see some respite from the race to the bottom on contract costs and pay. The government has approved an order in council that requires municipalities to adopt fair and equitable rates for home care. This should end the situation where local authorities were issuing tenders which providers could only meet by cutting costs and for workers this meant either losing their job or seeing a massive cut in pay.