2017 November epsucob@NEWS 21
In this issue:
- Spain: public service unions campaign on jobs and pay
- Germany: health staffing bargaining success
- Denmark: eldercare staffing concerns
- Europe: pay and staffing feature in eldercare study
- Europe: study confirms representativeness in central government
- Ukraine: unions protest over pay, prices and rights to health
- Greece: confederations plan anti-austerity strike
- Europe: ETUC and EPSU react to gender pay plan
- UK: waste workers' victory as energy workers take action
- Netherlands: union's ambulance campaign delivers initial victory
- France: energy union strikes over pay
- Norway: union calls for municipalities to drop nursing agency
- Finland: public sector union highlights private sector pay trends
- Belgium: unions take action against regional government
Nov. 29, 2017 The public service federations of the CCOO and UGT confederations organised a joint mobilisation of public administration workers on 29 November as part of their campaign for increased pay, more jobs and a return of rights lost during austerity. This followed a public-sector wide demonstration on 24 November with plans for further action on 14 December. The unions argue that services are under threat as 14% of jobs have been cut and reduced recruitment has created an ageing workforce where half are over 50. Since the 5% pay cut in 2010 there has been only a single pay increase of 1% while inflation has risen by 8% over the period. The unions want to see the restoration of other payments and entitlements that have been lost. Earlier on 29 November, the EPSU Executive Committee passed a resolution expressing its support for the unions along with affiliates in France, Italy and Portugal who are facing similar challenges.
Nov. 29, 2017 The ver.di services union has negotiated a new agreement with the management of the university hospitals of the towns of Gießen and Marburg in the Hesse region in central Germany. This is a major success arising from the union's national campaign of protests and strikes calling for action on staffing in the sector. The agreement, covering 7000 workers, provides for the possibility of taking on new workers as well as creating a pool of workers who are in a position to cover short and long-term gaps in staffing. It also commits the management and union to negotiate over measures to address persistent cases of understaffing. In the meantime ver.di continues its campaign to secure legislation at federal level to set safe staffing levels.
Nov. 29, 2017 Waste workers employed by Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in England, have won a new deal that will protect the pay of workers who were threatened with the loss of thousands of pounds in pay. The deal was negotiated by the Unite trade after a long-running dispute and industrial action. Meanwhile 3300 energy and ancillary workers organised by the GMB trade union at the Sellafield nuclear facility in North West England took a day's strike action on 29 November to secure better pay deals in two separate negotiations covering directly employed and outsourced workers. In another nuclear industry pay dispute, workers organised by the Prospect trade union at the Dounreay site in Northern Scotland will be balloted for possible action over pay.
Nov. 29, 2017 The Fagforbundet public services trade union has called on municipalities to end any contracts with the Orange nursing staff agency. Local authorities in Oslo and Bergen have already terminated contracts with the company following evidence of its infringement of various regulations including health and safety law. The company also failed to maintain services to users and to comply with demands from the authorities to meet the terms of its contract. Fagforbundet says the company is also guilty of paying wages well below the sector agreement while press reports have revealed the company's tax avoidance strategy.
Nov. 30, 2017 A planned series of protests by the FNV trade union was suspended earlier this month following an initial commitment from the government to additional funding for the ambulance service. The union had set 15 November as the first day of action in a campaign to highlight the issue of serious staff shortages which had led to 20 of the 24 regional services failing to meet performance targets. The campaign has been suspended until 15 January on the basis of the health minister's proposal for an extra EUR 10 million a year for training and recruitment and a one-off investment of EUR 5.7 million to provide 20 new ambulances. Whether the campaign is resumed depends on the outcome of negotiations set for 14 December and 15 January.
Nov. 30, 2017 A new report from the Eurofound research body has confirmed that the EPSU-led TUNED trade union grouping represents the large majority of unionised workers and civil servants in 27 of the 28 EU Member States. Its counterpart, the EUPAE employers' organisation represents 88% of the total EU workforce of 9.8 million in central government administrations. The conclusions strengthen the arguments of the social partners for the European Commission to put forward their agreement on information and consultation to the European Council for transposition into a directive.
Nov. 30, 2017 The FOA public services union is calling on the government and municipalities to take urgent action to tackle staffing shortages in eldercare. A recent survey found that three out of four local authorities didn't have enough eldercare staff and the situation is set to deteriorate as many workers retire. The sector needs around 13000 new recruits every year but the level is currently half that. The union says that employers use a lot of part-time work to save money and while many employees in the sector actually want to work full time. There is also a question of higher pay for young workers.
Nov. 30, 2017 In preparation for the upcoming bargaining round where it will be involved in negotiating around 60 agreements, the JHL public services union has underlined the importance of protecting the purchasing power of public sector workers just as much as those in the private sector. Rejecting a call from employers that public sector union pay demands should be moderate, JHL notes that a number of private sector negotiations have led to pay increases of around 3.2% over two years.
Nov. 30, 2017 In a joint press release the ETUC and EPSU underlined the need for urgent action to tackle the gender pay gap. They were reacting to the publication of the European Commission's Action Plan which addresses eight core themes: improving the application of the equal pay principle; combating segregation in occupations and sectors; initiatives to deal with vertical segregation; reducing the care penalty; better valorizing women's skills, efforts and responsibilities; exposing inequalities and stereotypes; informing about the gender pay gap and enhancing partnerships.
Nov. 30, 2017 The FNME-CGT energy union mobilised workers for strike action across the sector on 29-30 November in protest at the employers' pay offer. Following a pay freeze, the combination of increased social security payments and inflation mean that workers have seen a 2.8% fall in purchasing power. The union says that companies are paying out high dividends while continuing to impose austerity on employees.
Nov. 30, 2017 The ADEDY civil service confederation along with the GSEE private sector confederation have called a general strike on 14 December in protest against the latest austerity measures proposed by the government. The unions want to see an end to pay freezes, steps towards decent pay and no reduction in tax allowances. They reject plans for further cuts to pensions and call for the creation of permanent jobs to deal with staffing shortages across the public services. The confederations also want to block any restrictions on the right to strike.
Nov. 30, 2017 The CGSP and CSC public service federations in Wallonia organised strike action on 30 November over the failure of the regional government to respect agreements that it has signed. The unions had been warning from early September that urgent action was required. The issues involve a commitment to permanent status for contract workers, shorter working time, filling of vacant posts to ensure service quality and revaluing low salaries for workers on the level B pay grade.
Nov. 30, 2017 The FPU trade union confederation has called a demonstration outside parliament on 6 December with a number of key demands on the government. These include: setting the minimum wage at the level not lower than the real living wage (UAH 4023); setting the basic wage of a worker in the lowest pay grade at the level above the minimum wage; settling all outstanding wage arrears by the end of the year; reducing utilities prices; ensuring the right to affordable and quality health care and preventing any curtailing of existing worker and trade union rights in adopting a new Labour Code.
Nov. 30, 2017 The Eurofound research agency has published its first major overview of trends in the eldercare sector noting the spread of private provision in some parts of Europe and the challenge to maintain adequate levels of public funding. A section of the report addresses employment issues, notably staffing levels, the education and training of staff and wages. There are examples of staffing ratios from eight countries and some indicators of pay (public and private) from seven countries and the study notes overall that personal carers' pay falls into to the bottom 40% of pay (two lowest quintiles).