2017 September epsucob@NEWS 17
Sep. 25, 2017 Member of the services union ver.di working in several hospitals across the country took strike action on 19 September as part of the union's campaign on safe staffing levels and reducing workloads. EPSU general secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan sent a message of support, underlining the importance of protecting the well-being of both health workers and patients by taking urgent action to reduce staff shortages in the sector estimated at over 160000, including over 70000 frontline care workers.
Sep. 25, 2017 The Health Workersù Union of Ukraine (HWUU) organised a major protest outside the national parliament on 19 September focusing on pay, healthcare funding and against the commercialisation of the health system. The union called on the government to respond to the labour dispute registered by the union last year and to deal with urgent issues around unpaid wages and failure to properly implement the agreed pay system. The union was also calling for increased funding for the sector and other initiatives to improve health provision. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Sep. 25, 2017 EPSU affiliates in the Czech Republic took part in the national rally organised by the CMKOS confederation calling for an end to cheap labour. The rally marked the latest stage in the campaign begun by CMKOS in 2015 and tying in perfectly with the ETUC pay rise campaign launched in February this year. The confederation says that pay across the country has risen by 10% over the past two years and it is calling for a further increase of 10% for 2018.
Sep. 26, 2017 The main public sector unions in the CCOO and UGT confederations are calling on the government to improve its pay offer for the next three years. The current offer provides a guarantee for a 5.34% increase (1.5% in 2018, 1.75% in 2019 and 2.0% in 2020). However, this could reach 8% overall if target growth in economic output (GDP) is reached, along with a further target for deficit reduction. The unions want to see guaranteed increases that would begin to make up for the significant loss of purchasing power of public sector workers. The unions also want to see progress on working hours and an end to the replacement rates that restrict recruitment.
Sep. 26, 2017 Following votes across all the public sector unions, a majority (14), accounting for 80% by membership supported the new agreement on pay and conditions with three voting against. The three-year deal includes six pay increases (two targeted at the lower paid only) and will mean that the majority of public sector workers (73%) will see an overall increase of 7% by the end of the agreement. There is a range of other conditions that have been confirmed as part of the deal including the retention of outsourcing protections, the option to negotiate on returning to a shorter working week and provisions on work-life balance.
Sep. 26, 2017 The JHL public sector union is preparing for the upcoming round of collective bargaining by surveying members and activists over the key elements for negotiation across the 60 agreements that it covers, most of which expire in January 2018. This time there will be not be a framework agreement negotiated with employers but the union will be in discussion with other members of the SAK confederation with a view to setting some common demands.
Sep. 26, 2017 The HK Kommunal municipal union has received plenty of input from members and activists as it prepares its claim for the upcoming negotiations. Over 7000 contributions with 20000 suggestions have been submitted to the union covering a wide range of pay and conditions. Some of the key issues highlighted by the union include the need to maintain competence funds that provide for education and training and the call for action to tackle stress. Time off to deal with care responsibilities is also a common demand, particularly from workers with caring responsibilities for older people. There are varied opinions on pay with some calling for a general wage increase for all while others see local pay deals as important.
Sep. 26, 2017 The two groups of public sector unions organised in the Frente Comum and FESAP federations have agreed their main collective bargaining demands for 2018. There are several common issues with unions calling for measures to tackle precarious employment, to unblock opportunities for career progression and confirm a 35-hour week for all public sector workers. The unions want to see a pay rise in 2018 that will begin to compensate workers for the loss of purchasing power since 2009, with the Frente Comum calling for at least 4% while the FESAP demand is for at least 2.5%. The federations also want to see an increase in the minimum wage for public administration with Frente Comum specifying EUR 600 a month as the target. They also want a clear commitment to a proper process of collective bargaining.
Sep. 26, 2017 Protest action and a petition promoted by the vpod/ssp public services union and supported by other trade unions, political parties and civil society has led to a change to draft legislation in the Freibourg/Fribourg region that would have removed the right to strike for care workers (see epsucob@NEWS 15, 2017). The union said that the mobilisation of care staff had been important for the outcome and reinforces the importance of the right to strike in underpinning the unions' ability to negotiate effectively.
Sep. 26, 2017 The Sanitas health trade union is asking members to sign up on its website if they support strike action over bonuses, pay and other issues. The union is reacting to Ministry of Health proposals that would impose a cap on bonuses and restrict bonuses for working conditions for technical and administrative staff. The union is also very concerned about proposals to shift social contributions from employers to employees that would effectively wipe out any agreed pay increases. Sanitas also wants action to ensure fair pay levels for different occupations.
Sep. 26, 2017 On 15 September 14 health sector trade unions submitted a joint pay claim to the government. Pay negotiations in the sector are normally carried out in a special pay review body that includes employer and trade union representatives. However, the 14 unions decided to bypass this mechanism and ask the government directly for extra funding in next year's budget for health workers' pay. The basic claim would be an increase in line with inflation plus £800 (910 EUR) as a step towards recouping the estimated 15% loss of purchasing power suffered by workers over several years of pay freezes and pay increases below inflation.
Sep. 26, 2017 The Care and Welfare section of the FNV trade union has called on the government and employers to commit to urgent action to tackle understaffing and overwork in the ambulance service. The union says that increasing demand and lack of staff is creating an untenable situation and making it impossible for the service to meet its performance targets. FNV says the sector needs more permanent staff, accelerated training and adjustments to salaries so that they are in line with other collective agreements in the health sector. If there is no concrete response by 1 October the union will decide on what protest action to take.
Sep. 26, 2017 Nine public sector trade union organisations have come together to organise a national day of action on 10 October in protest at government attacks on the pay, conditions and jobs of public service workers. The unions accuse President Macron of doing the opposite of what he proposed in his presidential election campaign. Far from increasing pay, his government is maintaining the pay freeze for public sector workers. There is also a threat to 120000 jobs across the public services and the re-introduction of a waiting day before claiming sick pay. The unions will organise demonstrations and strike action in order to reinforce their demands for proper negotiations on the day set by the public services minister for talks on pay.
Sep. 26, 2017 The ETUC has welcomed the consultation with social partners on the revision of the Written Statement Directive. Trade unions and employers have until 3 November to react to the proposals to amend the Directive which sets out what information employees should be entitled to when they start work. The ETUC is pleased that the planned changes will mean that workers in general will be covered ensuring some protection for workers in the gig economy or "employed" by platform operators like Uber. The ETUC also hopes that the proposals on minimum hours and probation periods will be clarified and strengthened.