2018 June epsucob@NEWS 13
In this issue
- Netherlands: 7% over two and a half years for civil servants
- Hungary: Culture workers' protest highlights need for pay increase
- Croatia: Childcare workers mobilise over pension age increase
- Bulgaria: Water workers get new two-year agreement
- Kosovo: Unions challenge government on proposed pay system
- Ukraine: Confederation calls for urgent action on minimum wage
- UK: Civil service unions reject government's pay guidance
- Germany: Court confirms strike ban for civil servants
- Ireland: Municipal workers plan series of strikes over flexible working
- Belgium: Prison unions protest over threat to right to strike
- Spain: Unions mobilise over fair pay and conditions across public administration
- France: Union mobilises against energy network companies
- Portugal: Nurses' union continues campaign on 35-hour week
- Netherlands: Childcare workers get 5.25% increase over two years
Jun. 27, 2018 The FNV trade union has negotiated a new two-year collective agreement covering 80000 workers in the childcare sector. The agreement is backdated to 1 January 2018 and includes a pay rise of 5.25% over two years with 2.25% paid from 1 July this year along with a lump sum payment of EUR 185. Many workers in the sector work very few hours and are expected to be available to work at short notice. The agreement includes important provisions to regulate this with an extra day of work for those not working full-time and minimum two weeks' notice of work schedules. There are also proposals to tackle excessive workloads.
Jun. 27, 2018 After a range of protest actions and difficult negotiations the FNV and other trade unions are putting forward a new collective agreement covering 118000 civil servants for approval by their members. The agreement will run from 1 January 2018 to July 2020 and include pay increases of 3% on 1 July 2018, 2% on 1 July 2019 and 1% on 1 January 2020. With a one-off payment of EUR 450 on 1 January 2019, the deal is worth around 7%. There are various other measures included that cover employability, options on leave and an individual budget arrangement that allows choice between holidays and bonuses.
Jun. 27, 2018 Workers at Roscommon Council in the west of Ireland, members of the Fórsa trade union, have begun a series of strikes in order to win back their rights to flexileave. The right is seen as important, particularly for working parents and is being denied to Roscommon workers despite it being a right enjoyed across local government, endorsed in the national agreement and supported by a ruling of the Labour Court. The local government workers have taken two days of strike action and organised a protest march. They will continue to strike every Tuesday and Thursday. EPSU and other union organisations have sent messages of support.
Jun. 28, 2018 Services union ver.di has expressed its regret that a constitutional court ruling on 12 June has confirmed that civil servants do not have the right to strike. Responding to the judgement ver.di executive committee member Wolfgang Pieper argued that it fails to acknowledge the rights to strike and freedom of association that are afforded by the European Convention of Human Rights. The Court ruling is based on the argument that civil servants have a special relationship of trust with the state which on its side has a special duty of care towards civil servants. In the view of the court this relationship would be undermined by the right to strike for civil servants. Pieper points out that unilateral cuts to civil servants' pay and conditions have themselves undermined this relationship and that there is clearly a case to be made for stronger representation and negotiation rights for civil servants.
Jun. 28, 2018 Recent mobilisations of union members in public administration in Lleida, Logroño, Tarragona y Ceuta mark the end of a first phase of demonstrations organised by the three main public service federations in CCOO, UGT and CSIF. The key aim of the protests has been to keep up the pressure for the recuperation of pay and benefits cut under austerity but also to call for public employees to have the same pay and benefits as civil servants. The unions are also demanding a minimum monthly wage of EUR 1200 across the public administration.
Jun. 28, 2018 The KKDSz culture workers' union used the "night of the museums" event in Pecs in south-west Hungary to raise the issue of low pay for workers in museums, libraries and other cultural institutions. The union says that there may be scope for public sector negotiations and increases in the minimum wage as the new government prepares its budget for 2019, following discussions in the National Public Interest Reconciliation Council. The demonstration generated considerable interest in the media and support from other trade unions.
Jun. 28, 2018 The SOMK education, culture and media union organised demonstrations in Zagreb and Rijeka to protest against plans to raise the retirement age for childcare workers from 65 to 67. The union argues that the change fails to recognise the nature of work in the sector and the increasing mental and physical demands made on childcare workers. EPSU sent a message of solidarity as did the BDDSz childcare workers from Hungary.
Jun. 28, 2018 The three main civil service unions - PCS, Prospect and FDA - have strongly rejected the latest pay guidance from the government. While lifting the 1% cap on public sector pay increases, the latest guidance for negotiations across the civil service are for pay to rise on average by 1.0%-1.5%. The unions argue that the proposed level is derisory and fails to acknowledge the real pay cuts suffered by civil servants in recent years. They are also angry that the government failed to carry out a proper process of consultation with the unions over the pay guidance document.
Jun. 29, 2018 The FPSU trade union confederation has called on the government to raise the minimum wage to keep it in line with calculations of a living wage. It argues that in 2017 the two-stage increase of the minimum wage to UAH 3200 (EUR 104) was positive for both the standard of living and economic growth. However, this January's increase to UAH 3723 (EUR 121) was inadequate to keep pace with the living wage which had already risen to UAH 4011 (EUR 130) and was at UAH 4213 (EUR 137) by April. According to the FPSU around 20% of workers are classified as poor and the average wage at EUR 262 is only slightly more than the lowest minimum wage in the EU (Bulgaria - EUR 261). The confederation says that it had secured a commitment for an increase of the minimum wage to UAH 4200 (EUR 136) in the second quarter of 2018 and the government needs to stand by that commitment.
Jun. 29, 2018 The CSC/ACV and CGSP/ACOD unions representing prison workers have taken strike action in protest at government plans to legislate on limiting their right to strike. EPSU sent a solidarity message to the unions highlighting the deteriorating conditions and overcrowding in prisons across the country and the importance of having the right to strike to highlight the need for urgent action to address these problems and reverse the impact of austerity. Rather than attack trade union rights, EPSU argues that the federal government should open negotiations to tackle the critical situation facing the prison service.
Jun. 29, 2018 Public service trade unions have reacted angrily to government proposals to reform the public sector pay system which ignore union submissions on changes to the system. The controversial plans not only include a doubling of the prime minister's salary and increases for top officials but widespread changes that the unions say will not properly reflect the skills and qualifications of their members. The healthcare union points out that medical specialists could end up being paid less that drivers in some institutions and it has threatened strike action if the government doesn't negotiate.
Jun. 29, 2018 The SEP nurses' union reported 71% support for the start of its national day of strike action on 28 June. The action is the latest step in the union's campaign to ensure that all nurses benefit from the return to the 35-hour week promised to public service workers. The SEP is angry that the Ministry of Health has not only failed to recruit the required number of nurses to ensure that the 35-hour limit can be met but is proposing that new workers be employed on fixed-term contracts.
Jun. 29, 2018 A new collective agreement for the workers in the water sector came into effect on 2 May and will run for two years. The agreement covers a wide range of pay and conditions and includes an increase on the sector minimum wage, higher rates for night work, a special procedure to protect trade union members against dismissal, additional paid annual leave for parents, for studying and for trade union events) and an annual one week sport event for all workers in the sector.
Jun. 29, 2018 The FNME-CGT energy union is stepping up its mobilisation of workers in the Enedis and GRDF electricity and gas network companies. The union accuses both companies of focusing on increasing profits at the expense of employees and customers. The companies are pushing through restructuring, outsourcing and job cuts with employees facing work intensification and pressure to deliver services without the proper resources. The union has a range of key demands including an increase in pay and an end to job cuts and outsourcing.