2017 March epsucob@NEWS 05
(March 2017 ) The vpod public services union has a special network set up four years ago campaigning for better protection for migrant care workers. The union argues that the federal government is well aware of the level of exploitation of this group of workers but has failed to take any measures to regulate this area of work. Recent press reports have highlighted the situation facing care workers and the lack of legal protection.
(March 2017) The waste and environment section of the FNV trade union highlights the findings of a recent report that found more than a third of workers (34%) in the waste sector working on precarious contracts. The union stresses in particular that this raises serious safety issues. There are problems of ensuring that agency workers, for example, get all the appropriate protective clothing and appropriate training. The union also argues, as in a recent case, that precarious workers are more likely to be involved in workplace accidents, often taking too many risks in trying to show they are
(March 2017) Public services union FOA has negotiated a new three-year agreement with employers covering around 10000 workers in the private eldercare sector. The deal includes a DKK 2.50 (EUR 0.33) increase on the hourly rate in each of the next three years. There are also provisions covering rights of employee representatives and skills development. The agreement is now out for approval by the membership.
(March 2017) The IMPACT and SIPTU trade unions have organised a joint protest outside the parliament on 22 March calling for a restoration of pay and funding in community and voluntary services. The unions argue that workers in the sector have faced pay cuts, short-time working and unpaid overtime as they try to maintain services for vulnerable people. The unions want to ensure that the sector is not left behind as pay restoration gets underway in the rest of the public services.
(March 2017) The annual benchmarking report from the European Trade Union Institute provides an overview of latest developments in wages and collective bargaining. It notes a trend towards higher real wages, particularly in central and Eastern Europe, mainly as a result of low inflation. There has also been growth in minimum wages but most are still at a very low level. It also found that the decline in collective bargaining coverage continued and was very pronounced in southern and eastern European countries.
(March 2017) Unions organising workers in the non-profit social services came together in a major demonstration in Brussels on 21 March. The unions want to see urgent action to tackle major problems facing the sector - poor pay, understaffing and excessive workloads leading to burnout for many workers trying to maintain services in impossible conditions. The unions want to negotiate a new agreement for the sector which addresses pay and working conditions but they also underline the link between quality employment and delivery of quality services. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
(March 2017) Health unions mobilised across the country on 7 March with a 35000-strong demonstration in Paris and protests in over 40 other towns and cities. The unions were calling for an end to austerity which has meant cuts in jobs, pay freezes, attacks on collective agreements and an increased in fixed-term contracts. The unions were joined by many other organisations in the general call for an end to hospital bed closures and proper funding for health services.
(March 2017) Public services union JHL is calling for an extra pay increase for sectors dominated by women. The union chair Päivi Niemi-Laine said:"We need a separate round on top of the general increase. Women-dominated sectors have been kept in check and now we have to ensure that purchasing power remains strong in women-led fields." The union argues that action needs to be taken to address the persistent gender pay gap and that public salaries are being effectively cut by a decision to reduce holiday pay as part of the competitiveness deal negotiated last year.
(March 2017) The latest edition of the ETUI's collective bargaining newsletter includes several articles covering developments in the public services with news of a public sector pay deal in Cyprus, a strike of emergency service workers in the Czech Republic, disputes in Greece and Malta and further purges of public sector staff in Turkey.
(March 2017) The public sector federations in the CCOO and UGT confederations, along with the CSIF union organisation, have presented their key negotiating demands to the minister of finance and public service. The unions are underlining the important of re-establishing a proper process of social dialogue and are focusing on three central demands - the recuperation of lost purchasing power and negotiation of pay increases, an increase in employment and measures to reduce temporary employment and a restoration of other conditions lost as a result of austerity.
(March 2017) Five energy federations, including FNME-CGT, FNEM-FO, CFDT, CGC and CFE, organised a joint day of action and strikes on 14 March in their campaign to secure a pay increase as well as an end to restsructuring and job cuts. The unions want to see an increase applied to the basic pay structure but employers in the sector have only been offering changes to other payments and have refused an increase on the basic salary which would guarantee a pay increase for all workers in the sector. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
(March 2017) The latest government budget has been criticised by the TUC confederation and public service trade unions for offering nothing to public service workers who have seen their pay frozen or falling in real terms over the past 10 years. The PCS civil service union is organising a day of protest on 31 March and is calling for a 5% pay increase or £1200 a year (€1380) whichever is greater.
(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.
(March 2017) Services union ver.di has negotiated a new two-year agreement with the AVEU employers' organisation covering over 100 small firms in the energy and waste sectors, employing around 19000 workers and some 1600 apprentices. The 2.5% pay increase is from 1 March and early next year there will be a lump sum payment of EUR 600. The increase is ahead of or in line with others in the industry, such as ENGIE (1.9% from January) and AVE Hessen (2% from February) and Energie Südwest (2.45% from February). The union highlights the increases for apprentices.
(March 2017) The ETUC is calling for a pay rise for workers across Europe and in the latest initiative in its campaign reveals that wages are lower now than they were eight years ago in seven EU member states while in 18 EU countries wages have grown much slower over the seven years after the crisis than in the eight years before that.In the 7 years 2009-2016 real wages (adjusted for inflation) have fallen every year by an average of 3.1 % in Greece; 1 % in Croatia; 0.9 % in Hungary; 0.7 % in Portugal; 0.6 % in Cyprus; 0.4 % in UK, and 0.3 % in Italy.