2018 July epsucob@NEWS 14
Austria: Unions to fight on against 12-hour day
Sweden: Survey reveals differences between public and private eldercare
Europe: Report analysis decentralisation trends in collective bargaining
Europe: Study investigates national and European social dialogue
UK: Social care unions condemn "sleep-in" ruling
Ireland: Strike action delivers positive result on flexi-leave
Italy: Waste worker's death sparks call for action on safety
Spain: Call for more resources to prevent and tackle forest fires
Germany: Strike pressure gets employers to negotiating table
France: Strikers take to the roof to win their dispute
Hungary: Unions respond to attack on fringe benefits
Norway: Union criticises high profits in private childcare
Netherlands: Health workers in series of actions over pay and workloads
Switzerland: Unions mobilise for equality demonstration
Jul. 10, 2018 Trade unions mobilised over 100000 workers on 30 June in protest at a draft bill that would allow a 12-hour day and 60-hour week and the unions have said they will continue their campaign despite the law being voted through on 5 July. The trade unions have been campaigning against the proposals not just because they pose a threat to workers' health and safety, their rights to work-life balance and undermine rules on overtime but by legislating on the issue the government has intervened in what is seen as a key area of responsibility for the social partners and works councils.
Jul. 10, 2018 An update of a survey by the Kommunal municipal workers' union has revealed differences between private and public eldercare in terms of pay and conditions. On average a full-time municipal worker in eldercare is paid SEK 2300 (EUR 225) more a month than their private counterpart. Private sector workers are also more likely to work part time (72%) and on fixed-term contracts (37%) than municipal workers (61% and 27% respectively). A survey of members also found that private sector workers feel less satisfied with the job and less motivated than municipal workers and while both sets of workers often work unpaid extra hours, this is a much bigger problem among private sector workers.
Jul. 19, 2018 A new ETUI publication, Multi-employer bargaining under pressure: decentralisation trends in five European countries, investigates developments in the shift from centrally coordinated multi-employer to decentralized collective bargaining in a number of EU Member States where the former has been traditionally stronger (Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Spain). It also looks at whether company level bargaining can play a useful new role in setting working conditions, without paving the way for social dumping and widened inequalities.
Jul. 19, 2018 The Eurofound research agency has produced a new report that looks into the links between national and European social dialogue. The report identifies some of the key challenges for ensuring an effective European social dialogue and suggests that it is "worth exploring new forms of knowledge transfer, resources provision or engagement with EU- and national-level social partners." It also says that the European Commission "might be more pro-active in promoting social dialogue, notably through its social dialogue website" and that: "Recent initiatives such as the European Pillar of Social Rights and the revised 2018 Employment Guidelines could contribute to "strengthening social dialogue and the relationship between the social partners and governments at national level."
Jul. 19, 2018 Both UNISON and the GMB, unions representing care workers, have condemned the ruling of the Court of Appeal on 13 July that care workers needn't be paid the minimum wage for the whole of the period when they are on a "sleep-in" shift. The ruling overturns an earlier judgement by the lower level Employment Appeal Tribunal that workers were entitled to at least the minimum wage for the whole "sleep-in" shift when they were on-call, even if they weren't working. The unions say this is an attack on a large group of low-paid workers whose work is already undervalued.
Jul. 19, 2018 Four days of strike action by workers at Roscommon council in the West of Ireland have lead to the restoration of the right to flexi-leave that had been removed by the council's management. The workers, organised by the Fórsa and SIPTU trade unions, had carried out a series of four one-day strikes and further action was planned in order to secure rights which are enjoyed across the rest of the local government sector and which are important in ensuring a good work-life balance, particularly for working parents. EPSU had sent a solidarity message.
Jul. 19, 2018 The tragic death of 54-year-old Michele Lorusso, an employee of a private waste contractor near Bari in southern Italy, has prompted calls for urgent action on safety in the sector. The incident happened when Michele was on his own and attempting to fix a waste truck that had broken down. The FP-CGIL trade union says that this is just the latest in a long line of incidents with the sector registering a rise in accidents and occupational diseases in recent years. The union wants to see health and safety in the industry now given the highest priority.
Jul. 19, 2018 In a timely intervention, the FSC-CCOO has called on the government to put more resources into the prevention and fighting of forest fires - an issue which the union sees has become one of the most urgent for the country and rural communities. Along with a strengthening of the fire service - increased employment, professionalisation and training - the union argues that more has to be done to take preventative measures, some of which could actually help to boost rural economies.
Jul. 19, 2018 Strike action by workers at university hospitals in Essen and Düsseldorf in western Germany has helped push employers to the negotiating table to discuss measures to reduce workloads - a longstanding issue that the trade union ver.di is trying to address across the health and social services sectors. The union and the TdL employer organisation have finally agreed on the key points for the negotiations. These include measures to reduce the pressure on staff, future procedures to address staffing requirements and what to do when there is not enough staff, immediate measures to reduce workloads such as taking on more staff and regulations on training quality.
Jul. 19, 2018 After strike action launched on 18 June, with seven strikers having spent 16 days on the roof, health workers at the Pierre Janet psychiatric hospital in Le Havre in northern France are celebrating victory. The dispute was not just about working conditions but also the state of the facilities for welcoming patients. The agreement negotiated to end the dispute involves a commitment to create 34 new jobs with some allocated to mobile services and others to provide better cover for night shifts as well as psychiatric emergencies. There are improvements to working conditions and works will be undertaken to improve the facilities for patients.
Jul. 20, 2018 EPSU has sent a solidarity message to Hungarian affiliates who are fighting against their government's new proposal to reform the taxation of certain fringe benefits. The KKDSZ, BDDSZ and HVDSZ2000 trade unions held a press conference in front of the Parliament earlier this month in protest. The reform of the taxation of fringe benefits such as luncheon vouchers would make it more costly for employers to provide these to their workers. This could result in an effective cut in income for many, with a particular impact on the low paid for whom the vouchers are very important.
Jul. 20, 2018 The Fagforbundet public services union has criticised private childcare companies for making excessive profits at the expense of the children and childcare workers. Private operators tend to employ fewer workers than municipal childcare providers, with employees often on lower pay rates and with poorer pension entitlement. The union welcomes the fact that a new law in effect on 1 August will require one childcare worker per three children aged 0-3 and one for every six children aged 3-5. Fagforbundet's priorities are now to get changes to the financing system for private childcare, win better pay and conditions for all childcare workers and increase the number of jobs.
Jul. 20, 2018 University Medical Centre (UMC) workers across the country have been taking action to highlight their concerns about workloads and to put pressure on the employers to restart negotiations that have been stalled since the end of May. Members of the FNV and NU'91 trade unions have been involved in short work stoppages, demonstrations and working to rule in Groningen, Utrecht, Maastricht, Leiden and other cities. The unions are calling for a decent pay rise, urgent action to reduce excessive workloads and to recruit more young workers. The UMC collective agreement covers around 60000 workers.
Jul. 20, 2018 The vpod/ssp public services trade union is part of a massive mobilisation among trade unions and women's group for a national demonstration on equality in Bern on 22 September. With a gender pay gap of 20% and a gender pensions gap of 37% the unions are calling for urgent action to tackle inequality and discrimination, involving legal measures and strong sanctions to force employers to address the problem. The ssp/vpod will also be highlighting the undervaluation of "women's" jobs, particularly those in the health and social services sectors.