2018 April epsucob@NEWS 07
Issue 7, April 2018
- Denmark: Over 10000 worker reps join mass meeting
- France: Unions plan further action against civil service reforms
- Germany: 70000 take part in warning strikes
- Czech Republic: Unions to discuss shorter working time
- Austria: Prison union wins commitment to more jobs
- Italy: Union calls for action over prison violence
- Spain: Ministry of Justice workers mobilise
- France/UK: Waste workers protest over pay, safety and surveillance
- Portugal: Water workers protest over pay and hours
- Netherlands: Unions back manifesto on mental health
- Norway: Municipal unions commit to action on full-time work
- UK: Civil service union campaigns for 5% pay increase
- Europe: ETUC celebrates apprenticeship success
- Europe: Collective bargaining news from around Europe
Apr. 03, 2018 Public sector unions brought together over 10000 shop stewards to debate the way forward in the current conflict over pay and conditions. When the employers failed to come up with an offer on pay, negotiations broke down and a mediator was called in. The unions announced that strike action would take place on 4 April if mediation didn't work. The action would be targeted and involve only 10%-15% of public sector workers. In response, the employers said that they would implement a massive lockout on 14 April covering 90% of state workers and 50% of municipal workers. Mediation is continuing, however, and the mediator has requested a delay to the industrial action. This means that no strike action can take place before 22 April and no lockout before 28 April unless the mediator declares an early end to the mediation process. EPSU and many affiliates sent messages of support.
Apr. 03, 2018 The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations organised a rally outside the Ministry of Justice against proposals that would change the rules on worker mobility. The unions are particularly angry that the amendments have been introduced in parliament without following the correct procedure. They say that if implemented the rules would significantly reduce workers' rights and mean that they could be forced to move to jobs on much lower pay levels. The unions will also use the protest to highlight some of the many other pay and conditions problems that the Ministry has failed to negotiate over, including the introduction of new technology, training and career development, an equality plan and problems with supplementary allowances.
Apr. 04, 2018 The FNV trade union and other workers' organisations have signed up to a manifesto that commits them to negotiate measures to address mental illness at work. Around half the population is thought to have some kind of mental condition related to anxiety, depression or burnout. If nothing is done to tackle this in the workplace then employees' mental health may deteroriate, posing a risk to their continuing employment. Unions want to be able to ensure that a safe working environment means also providing support to address mental health problems.
Apr. 04, 2018 Over 70000 workers joined the initial round of warning strikes in support of the negotiations covering federal and municipal workers. The focus was on the North-Rhine Westfalia region but further action is planned around the country, involving a broad range of workers from childcare and water to administration and transport. The services union ver.di is determined to secure a real wage increase for all workers, ensuring that any percentage rise is underpinned by a flat-rate amount to benefit lower paid workers.
Apr. 04, 2018 Later this month the CMKOS trade union confederation will be debating the prospect of a major initiative on working time, with a proposal to go for a half-hour cut in the standard working day without loss of pay. Unions believe that they are in a good position to make this a key bargaining issue in 2019 with a positive economic outlook and very low unemployment. The cut would mean moving from a standard 42.5-hour working week to 37.5 hours with a 30-minute break.
Apr. 04, 2018 Waste workers in the UK and France are taking or planning industrial action over a wide range of issues. Public and private sector workers in France, organised by the CGT union, are taking action over major demands on pay, pensions and health and safety. Meanwhile, in Hull in North East England workers employed by the FCC multinational are protesting over sick pay and inThurrock in South East England the issue is one of surveillance. Workers there are objecting to live streaming to management from cameras in all refuse lorries.
Apr. 04, 2018 The public services unions Fagforbundet and Delta and the NSF nurses' union have signed a declaration with the KS municipal employers' organisation calling for further co-operation to create a culture of full-time work in the sector. The unions want to see a reduction in part-time work which leads to part time workers, the vast majority of whom are women, losing out, particularly in terms of their pension benefits. While some steps have been taken, the unions are still concerned that there is too much part-time work, especially in the health and social care sectors. A website has been set up to provide municipal workers with information about the declaration.
Apr. 05, 2018 Public service unions report a massive response to their call for a day of protest and strike action on 22 March against government plans for the public sector. While the unions are calling for a wide range of measures to support statutory employment rights, increase pay, reduce precarious employment, improve career development, the government response has been to talk about reforming existing social dialogue structures, weaking the statutory system and extending individualisation of pay. Following the abortive meeting with the government on 3 April, unions will meet on 10 April to discuss how to respond with the prospect of a range of initiatives during April and further demonstrations and strike action likely in May.
Apr. 05, 2018 The latest issue of the European Trade Union Institute's Collective Bargaining Newsletter provides updates from all European Union countries and more. This month's edition includes news on public service strikes, disputes and negotiations, including in Bulgaria (prisons), Cyprus (waste), Malta (pensions) and Slovenia.
Apr. 05, 2018 The ETUC reports that it has successfully negotiated and lobbied for a Recommendation by the European Council that sets out a number of measures to improve apprenticeships. These include:involving social partners in the design, governance and implementation of apprenticeship systems; a written agreement on learning and working conditions; a call for apprentices to be paid in line with national or sectoral requirements or collective agreements; and that they should be entitled to social protection, including necessary insurance in line with national legislation.
Apr. 05, 2018 Following a meeting with the justice minister, the prisons section of the GÖD public service union has announced that the government is committed to create 75 new jobs and 100 training places to tackle the excessive workloads faced across the prison service. The talks also discussed the prospects for a quicker and more effective process for appointing prison staff and a plan for an expert study of the sector that would assist in drawing up standard safety guidelines.
Apr. 05, 2018 The FP CGIL public services federation is calling for urgent action to tackle increasing violence against staff as well as staff suicides in the prison service. Thirty-five staff have committed suicide over the last five years with 2250 violent incidents recorded over the same period. The increase in violence is reflected in the number of incidents rising from 344 in 2013 to 590 in 2017. The union has criticised the prison service management for failing to engage to tackle the issue with its sole main response being to establish a helpline for staff. The union wants to see a range of measures taken including an increase in staff, improved surveillance technology and initiatives to provide inmates with suitable activities to assist in their rehabilitation.
Apr. 05, 2018 Workers at the Aguas de Portugal (AdP) water company are considering strike action if a number of key demands are not met. Apart from improvements in pay and career development, the workers want to see a progressive reduction in working hours and measures to address the fact that restructuring of the company has lead to many workers being on different rates of pay despite having the same length of service and responsibilities. Unions mobilised on the 27 March to put pressure on management which has so far failed to address these issues.
Apr. 05, 2018 The PCS civil service union is calling for a 5% pay increase in its campaign to end the 1% pay cap. The union has called for talks with the government on pay and is urging its members to begin preparations for a possible ballot for industrial action. The union has been petitioning on the issue and organised a rally in early March. As part of its pay campaign PCS is also calling for support for the national demonstration organised by the TUC confederation under the banner "a new deal for working people."