2018 February epsucob@NEWS 04
- France: Further action in eldercare
- Ireland: Progress on pay for social services workers
- Austria: National mobilisation in private health and social care
- Italy: Unions welcome local government agreement
- Europe: Significant ruling on standby time
- Germany: Unions set out demand for 6% pay rise
- Finland: New agreement in local government
- France/Germany: Energy workers in action
- Netherlands: Pay rise for workers in disability care
- Spain: Unions call for agreement on employment and pay
- Global: Unions launch campaign against gender-based violence
- Switzerland: Federal employees want minimum 1.5% increase
- Georgia: Progress on consultation but not yet on safety
- Sweden: Union highlights persistent pay gap
Feb. 20, 2018 A meeting of services union ver.di's collective bargaining committee covering federal and municipal workers has unanimously agreed to go for a 6% pay increase with a minimum rise of EUR 200 a month. Other demands include increases for apprentices and trainees, re-establishing the rule that apprentices who successfully complete their training should be offered a job and a 20% increase in the night work allowance in hospitals. Ver.di is aiming for a 12-month agreement and wants to ensure that public sector workers benefit from the current positive economic climate. The union estimates that pay for workers in federal and municipal government has fallen 4% behind other sectors since 2000. The claim is also supported by unions representing teachers, police and civil servants.
Feb. 20, 2018 Following the massive mobilisation on 30 January (see previous issue of epsucob@NEWS 03, 2018), trade unions in the eldercare sector have called for a second day of strike action on 15 March. The eight trade union organisations have been joined by two further trade unions and again have the support of directors of eldercare institutions. The unions are highly critical of the failure of the government to commit additional funding to the sector. They are repeating their calls for 1:1 staff/client ratio in care homes and more time for home care workers' visits. They also want to see an increase in salaries and improved career prospects.
Feb. 20, 2018 The vida and GPA-djp services unions organised warning strikes involving over 40000 workers in more than 140 private health and social care institutions on 15 and 16 February. The strikes were called in order to put pressure on the employers to come up with an improved offer in the current negotiations over a new collective agreement that covers around 100000 workers in the sector. The unions want a recognition of the increasing workloads faced by many workers, with an appropriate pay increase and a cut in working time to 35 hours a week (see also last issue of epsucob@NEWS 03, 2018).
Feb. 20, 2018 The threat of strike action by members of the SIPTU trade union employed in the non-profit social services sector has lead to an agreement on negotiations to ensure pay restoration. The union had been campaigning for some time to get the government to commit to funding so-called Section 39 organisations so that they could deliver pay restoration for the sector in line with what has already been agreed in the national public sector negotiations. The strike action planned for 14 February has been delayed by six weeks to allow time for the management of the relevant Section 39 organisations to respond. (See previous issue of epsucob@NEWS 03, 2018)
Feb. 20, 2018 Unions in the municipal sector have negotiated a 26-month agreement that includes a 3.45% pay increase plus compensation for lost holiday entitlement. The pay increase will be implemented in three stages: on 1.5.2018 a general increase of 26 euros for salaries up to EUR 2080 a month and 1.25% above that. There then follows an increase of 1.2% on 1 January 2019 and 1% on 1 April 2019. In January 2019 employees will also get 9.2% of their monthly pay (average EUR 260) as compensation for lost holiday entitlement. In other sectors, including private kindergartens, negotiations have stalled and strike notices have been issued.
Feb. 21, 2018 Trade unions are positive about the new collective agreement they have negotiated for the 560000 workers in local and regional government. On top of the EUR 85 pay increase per month there are improvements for specific groups of workers including the municipal police. Additional resources are available for local bargaining and there are improvements in a range of other conditions such as holiday entitlement and sick leave. More issues will now be covered by collective bargaining, giving more responsibilities to workplace trade union reps. The result is seen as a real advance on pay, rights and bargaining, marking a decisive end to the almost 10-year freeze on negotiations in the public sector.
Feb. 21, 2018 Energy workers in France and Germany have taken or are planning action over pay and privatisation. In Germany, warning strikes have helped deliver a 3% pay increase for 17000 private sector energy workers in the Baden-Württemberg region. There will also be a EUR 70 increase for apprentices and additional holiday pay specifically for ver.di members. Energy workers in France took action on 8 February as part of a long-running protest over the fall in purchasing power in the sector with a demand to re-open pay negotiations. A strike is also planned for 15 March in opposition to proposals to sell off hydro-electric power concessions.
Feb. 21, 2018 The Georgian Trade Union Confederation has welcomed the government's ratification of the International Labour Organisation convention on tripartite consultation. The GTUC says that it had been pushing for this for many years and it should now provide the basis to develop social dialogue in the country. However, unions there continue to face major challenges not least the failure of the government to re-establish an effective labour inspection regime. Some 460 workers have died and 796 have been injured since the labour inspectorate was abolished in 2006.
Feb. 21, 2018 The CCOO and UGT unions in the public sector met with the finance ministry on 19 February to underline their demands for a new agreement on public employment that would include a target of reducing temporary employment to 8% of total employment over the next three years and to end the restriction on replacing employees who leave which has had major implications not just for workers but also the quality of services. The unions are also looking for an above-inflation pay rise and a restoration of the 5% salary cut from 2010. They also want to see a return to the 35-hour week across the public sector.
Feb. 21, 2018 The vpod/SSP public services union has called on the government to ensure it budgets for a pay increase of at least 1.5% for all federal employees. Working with other public service unions, the vpod/SSP says the government should now end its austerity policies towards its employees, particularly in the light of a CH Fr 5 billion surplus. The unions are worried that the government will use the surplus to cuts taxes and argue that federal workers haven't seen a real increase in pay since a 0.7% rise in 2014 and so a pay rise should be a priority.
Feb. 22, 2018 In a significant new judgement (Matzak, C-519/15), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that standby time away from the workplace may be counted as working time. In previous rulings the ECJ has said that on-call time at work should be counted as working time but normally if a worker is on standby away from the workplace this would not count as working time as they are not at the disposal of the employer. In the Matzak case involving a Belgian firefighter the Court found that the requirement to be at the workplace within eight minutes imposed a restriction on how the worker spent his time and therefore should be counted as working time.
Feb. 22, 2018 The FNV trade union has negotiated a new collective agreement with Fokus, a provider of care for people with disabilities, with 2400 employees. The one-year deal includes a 2.8% pay increase from 1 January and special provisions for older workers to reduce their hours. Those within four years of pensions age can reduce their hours by 20% with a pay reduction of only 10% and the employer will ensure their pension contributions remain at the previous level. The hours made available will be reallocated, including to new employees. The agreement also means that workers aged 58 and over no longer have to work night shifts and it allows time off for union members to attend at least four union meetings a year.
Feb. 22, 2018 International union organisations are promoting a major campaign against gender-based violence, a key aim of which is to get the International Labour Organisation to adopt a new convention. Launched on 14 February, the 23 days of action are building critical support for the adoption of a convention, accompanied by a Recommendation, on “Violence and Harassment against Women and Men in the World of Work”, with a strong focus on the gender dimension of violence. The campaign is also mobilising and strengthening trade union action in eradicating gender-based violence from the world of work.
Feb. 22, 2018 The Vision local government union is calling for action on structural pay inequalities and wants to see women have the right to full-time and permanent employment contracts as part of a campaign to reduce the gender pay gap. The union supports the 16.02 campaign which says that with a 12% pay gap women effectively work for free every day from 16.02 to 17.00. The pay gap has narrowed slightly in recent years but on current progress it will take until 2050 to achieve equal pay.