2017 October [email protected] 18
Public service developments covered in bargaining newsletter
The latest issue of the ETUI's collective bargaining newsletter includes news of developments in public services in several countries including strike action by health staff in Cyprus, analysis of social clauses in procurement in Denmark, health workers facing burnout in Switzerland and nurses negotiating on working time in Portugal.
Union continues campaign over staffing levels
The ver.di services union organised further strike action among health workers on 10 and 11 October as a further step in its campaign to deal with massive staffing shortages across the sector. The union is looking to negotiate agreements to tackle overwork, excessive overtime and workers being called out at short notice to fill staffing gaps. Ver.di wants to see all workers take their proper breaks and ultimately the aim is for national legislation to set minimum staffing levels.
Workers in overseas services take strike action
The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have called a strike on 16 October involving workers in the government's overseas services. The strike is in protest at the freezing of salaries for the 7000 workers in the service and increasingly precarious employment conditions. The unions say that the strike is necessary as there has been no response to their demands since a meeting a meeting in June and despite a number of other protests and actions so far in 2017.
Nurses' union secures agreement after long running strike
Nurses employed by the Cancer Society will see their pay and conditions protected after the longest strike ever organised by the NSF nurses' union. The strike was called when the employers moved to a new employers' organisation with a poorer collective agreement. The new agreement will protect the union's right to strike and ensure that industry-standard minimum pay rates apply.
Survey exposes pressure faced by care workers
A new survey published by public services union Unison exposes the pressure faced by home care workers and their precarious working conditions.Three-quarters (75%) of care workers said they had too little time to provide proper care because they are too rushed, often because employers pressure them to fit in an excessive number of visits.The report also highlights the job insecurity faced by home care workers with more than half (52%) on zero hours contracts, and more than three in five (63%) not getting paid for the time it takes to travel between care visits.
Public service union stages anti-austerity strike
The CGSP/ACOD public service federation, part of the FGTB socialist confederation, organised a national strike on 10 October. The union was protesting against the austerity policies of the government, weakening of employment rights in the public sector, reduced pension entitlement and the increased threat of privatisation. The union is also objecting to plans to impose minimum service requirements when public service unions taken strike action. The union says that minimum service agreements are currently negotiated with public service employers and should not be unilaterally imposed by the
Union hands in petition on pay and conditions of childcare workers
The public services trade union, younion, collected 15000 signatures in a petition that it handed in to the parliament of the region of Lower Austria on 10 October. The petition calls for action to deal with the pay and working conditions of the 3000 childcare workers in the region. The union wants to see improvements to education and training in the sector as well as the development of a proper career structure. It is also calling for pay to be commensurate with the responsibilities and demands of the job. The union is expecting to be able to negotiate soon, although there is no offer on this
Union to call for flat-rate pay rise and action on training
Following a strategy meeting to discuss its key priorities, the FOA public services union has announced that it will be calling for a flat-rate pay increase in the forthcoming collective bargaining round. The union says this will be important in continuing to tackle low pay and close the gender pay gap. The FOA also wants action to improve training and education for unskilled workers. The union will be coordinating bargaining with 35 other trade unions and the first joint meeting with employers will be on 12 December.
Firefighters mobilise over pay, pensions and funding
Firefighters in the FP CGIL public services federation have called a demonstration outside parliament on 17 October. The aim of the protest is to underline the union's pay claim in the current round of collective bargaining as well as to call for action on a number of other issues including recruitment, pensions and funding.
Union aims for flat-rate pay claim in bargaining round
The JHL public services union says that it will aim for a flat-rate rather than a percentage pay rise in the upcoming bargaining round as a step towards closing the pay gap between the low and high paid. Another priority for the union is more control for workers over working time and shift work, seen as crucial to improve well-being at work. JHL will also be looking at initiatives to address the cut in holiday bonus in the public sector and action on zero-hours contracts.
Union puts forwards measures on gender equality
Responding to a government consultation the IMPACT public services union has called for a number of initiatives on on equal pay and gender equality, including requirements on employers to report on the gender pay gap and recognition of employers who take action to reduce gender equality. The union has submitted detailed proposals for action to address pay for non-teaching staff in education including pay reviews and job evaluation for a range of staff such as special needs assistants and administrative and library staff, the vast majority of whom are women.
Strike action in public services
A national strike in local government and municipal companies has been called for 27 October by the Frente Comum group of unions, including the STAL local government union. The strike is in support of improved pay and conditions with unions calling for a 4% pay rise (minimum 60 EUR a month) to start to compensate for the pay freeze since 2009. The unions also want to see the 35-hour week guaranteed for all workers. Earlier in the month unions organising in the ASAE food inspection agency took strike action over career development, working time, pensions and a range of other issues.
Action by careworkers secures extra staff
Members of the FNV union working at a care home in Lopik in the Utrecht region have won an important victory, securing additional night staff and security measures. The workers at the care home run by the AxionContinu company organised a petition and camped outside the company's head office in order to put pressure on management. The workers argued that it was unacceptable for only one person to be on night duty with responsibility for over 60 vulnerable residents. The union will now try to tackle other issues in the company and hopes that the commitment on staffing levels will be taken up in
Public sector unions' joint action mobilises hundreds of thousands
Strike action and demonstrations in over 140 cities across the country were part of a successful day of action on 10 October organised by the nine public sector trade union organisations. Unions estmate that over 400000 joined the national protests involving workers right across the public services. The day of action was in protest at government plans to freeze pay again and to cut jobs. The unions are due to meet the public services minister, Gérald Darmanin, and they will then meet together on 23 October to discuss whether and when to take further action. A contingent with EPSU banners