2018 August epsucob@NEWS 16
- Germany: Hospitals refuse to negotiate on reducing workloads
- UK: Strike threat blocks backdoor privatisation
- Netherlands: Water workers get 7.5% pay increase
- Italy: New agreement for health and social service workers in third sector
- Austria: Unions counter 12-hour day with call for four-day week
- Norway: Union reports care company to labour and tax authorities
- Ireland: Home care workers set to benefit from new agreement
- UK: Union raises concerns over waste sector deaths
- Netherlands: Ambulance workers plan further action
- Germany: Care company attacks workers' rights
- Finland: Unions raise concerns over impartiality of new conciliator
- France: Hospital workers take action to defend jobs and services
- Portugal: Nurses and municipal transport workers take action
Aug. 15, 2018 Health services union ver.di is considering all-out strike action following the refusal of management at the Düsseldorf and Essen university hospitals to negotiate an agreement to tackle excessive workloads (see two previous editions of epsucob@NEWS). The union had been discussing various measures to tackle staff shortages and overwork and it had welcomed an initiative by the employers to take on 100 extra staff. Further talks were expected but then to ver.di's surprise on 14 August the employers announced that they wouldn't be seeking to negotiate an agreement. Ver.di will continue to press for the negotiations to resume. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Aug. 16, 2018 A planned three-day strike by UNISON members at the Mid Yorkshire National Health Service (NHS) Hospitals Trust has been called off after the trust’s management lifted the threat of creating a wholly-owned subsidiary. In line with other NHS bodies around the country, the trust had intended to set up the company and transfer the contracts of cleaners, maintenance workers, IT and canteen staff to it. The subsidiary would have made it possible to put staff on non-NHS terms and conditions and to make it easier for it to be sold to a private company. UNISON is campaigning around the country to block these kinds of initiatives.
Aug. 16, 2018 Water board employees have voted to accept a new collective agreement that includes a 3.5% pay increase backdated to 1 January this year with a further 3.25% rise as of 1 April 2019. The deal also includes a EUR 500 lump sum payment and changes to the individual choice budget worth a further 0.75% of salary. The individual choice budget allows workers to choose how they take improvements in pay and conditions - for example through increased leave or other benefits. The FNV trade union will also be talking to management about performance-related pay.
Aug. 16, 2018 The three main unions representing the 20000 employees of the ANPAS non-profit national emergency and social assistance organisation have negotiated a new collective agreement covering the period 2017-2019. With a basic increase of EUR 85 (worth around 5.7% for emergency drivers) the agreement follows the pattern in the public sector. There are several other key provisions including improvements related to training, sickness and injury, quotas for fixed-term contracts, and rights for women who are the victims of violence. The unions hope that this will help push forward other agreements in the non-profit sector.
Aug. 16, 2018 The head of the GPA-djp services union and president of the ÖGB trade union confederation, Wolfgang Katzian, has called for the right to negotiate a four-day week in a challenge to the government's recent legislation to allow a 12-hour working day. Many collective agreements already allow the possibility to work a four-day week although this has rarely been implemented in practice. In advance of the autumn bargaining round, there will be a national conference for negotiators on 18 September to discuss working time and the prospect of bargaining around a four-day week or other initiatives to reduce working time such as six weeks of annual leave.
Aug. 16, 2018 The Fagforbundet trade union has reported the Aleris Ungplan and Boi private care company to the authorities for possible breaches of labour, health and safety, tax and even criminal law. The union has taken up cases for a number of workers who have been denied their rights on pay, sick pay and pensions and forced to work excessive hours. The cases mainly involve workers who were taken on as "consultants" rather than employees so that the company could avoid paying pension, sickness and other costs. The company is a subsidiary of a major private sector health and social care provider, Aleris, and Fagforbundet says this is one of the worst cases of social dumping in the welfare sector it has seen and also wants action by regional government which is responsible for health and social care provision.
Aug. 16, 2018 The SIPTU services union has negotiated an agreement that could provide significant improvements to the pay and conditions of around 8000 home care workers employed in the community sector. The workers will have a guarantee that travel time will be include in the calculation of their pay and working time and the new deal should see them benefit from a proper valuation of their work, with minimum qualifications to be set for new workers and an end to precarious work. This will help bring the sector more line with the pay and conditions enjoyed by workers directly employed by the Health Service Executive. The union is also keen to ensure that there is an overall increase in hours of home care provision to benefit service users.
Aug. 17, 2018 The GMB general and public services union has raised concerns about safety in the waste sector. The union says that official figures show that deaths among refuse workers rose from eight to 12 last year while staff faced 1,000 instances of dangerous driving every single day. The GMB points out that workers are facing these serious threats to their safety while having seen their pay plummet in real terms since 2011.The average earnings of a refuse worker are just over £19,000 a year (EUR 21250), 7.4% lower in real terms than in 2011.
Aug. 17, 2018 The FNV union is planning a new round of actions in the ambulance sector as it continues its long-running campaign to improve pay and conditions and address excessive workloads. The union has called on the employers to negotiate a plan with concrete measures including a commitment to a specific deadline to deal with staff shortages; reducing overtime and additional work; complying with the collective agreement in relation to breaks and the reduction of external hiring and subcontracting; and an agreement to increase salaries in line with other parts of the health sector.
Aug. 17, 2018 EPSU has sent solidarity greetings to members of the ver.di services union who are taking strike action against the Celenus care company, a subsidiary of the French multinational Orpea. The company has sacked worker representatives, has threatened to outsource cleaning jobs and refuses to negotiate a collective agreement.
Aug. 17, 2018 A new national conciliator has been appointed and has already created concern among trade unions following a TV interview. Vuokko Piekkala comes from the church employers' organisation and told the YLE channel that the first agreement reached in the upcoming bargaining round will, under her guidance, set a pay rise ceiling for the rest of the agreements. Public services unions TEHY and JHL, along with the SAK confederation, immediately expressed their concerns about Piekkala taking a position in line with the employers rather than showing strict impartiality.
Aug. 17, 2018 Workers at the Vierzon public hospital in central France are involved in strike action to defend services and jobs. The trade unions involved - CGT, CFDT, FO and SUD - have expressed their concern about plans to close surgical, paediatric and maternity services at the hospital leaving local people with long journeys to the nearest facilities. They have called for all services to be maintained, for investment in new facilities, action to tackle the hospital's debt and a stop to any job cuts. Along with strike action the unions organised a human chain around the hospital and have been highlighting the potential impact of the closures to local people.
Aug. 17, 2018 Workers at the ECALMA municipal transport company in Almada near Lisbon planned strike action on 17 and 18 August to put pressure on management to negotiate a collective agreement on wages and career development and to implement promised improvements in working conditions. Meanwhile nurses at a number of hospitals across the country are taking strike action in order to secure their rights to career development which have been frozen for many years.