2018 May epsucob@NEWS 10
Issue 10, May 2018
- Bulgaria and Croatia: Health workers call for higher pay to stop emigration
- Romania: Union action leads to agreement for health workers
- Czech Republic: Union focuses on pay rise and fair pay in meeting with government
- Spain: Home care workers plan further action
- Portugal: Strike action brings results on working time and other conditions
- UK: Conciliation service staff on strike
- Germany: Red Cross workers take action to support negotiations
- Greece: Confederations announce 24-hour general strike
- Ireland: Report supports union demand for pay rise for social service workers
- Netherlands: Unions cut short maternity care negotiations
- Denmark: Pay boost for health and social care assistants
- France: Unions protest over attacks on civil service status
- Norway: Unions agree pay increase for hospital workers
- Belgium: Massive demonstration against pension reform
May. 16, 2018 A series of protests in March, a national rally in April and a two-hour warning strike on 7 May all helped health union Sanitas and other unions in the sector reach agreement with the government on a number of key issues. As a result the national strike planned for 11 May was called off. Health and social service workers will now get compensation for social contribution increases to protect their take-home pay. There will also be changes to the proposed 30% limit on bonuses and there is a commitment to negotiate collective agreements covering the health and social services sectors.
May. 16, 2018 On 12 May healthworkers in Sofia and Zagreb demonstrated over poor pay and working conditions and the crisis of understaffing. 5000 nurses, medical professionals, midwives and lab technicians joined a demonstration outside the Council of Ministers in Sofia demanding a 1500 Lev (EUR 765) minimum wage for health workers as a step towards stemming the flow of health workers out of the country. In Zagreb the call was also for improved pay and working conditions and in particular the respect for collective agreements in relation to overtime pay.
May. 17, 2018 The strike action by health workers on 2-3 May helped the SINTAP public service union conclude an agreement that establishes equal treatment for 20000 health workers in terms of working time and other employment conditions. Workers on individual contracts employed in public enterprise hospitals did not have the same rights as workers directly employed by the national health service. The new agreement, signed on 4 May, now ensure that they have the same rights to the 35-hour week, holidays, supplements for overtime and night work and career development.
May. 17, 2018 The four unions representing home care workers in the Basque region (ELA, LAB, UGT and USO) have planned further work stoppages as part of their long-running campaign to end the pay freeze and negotiate new collective agreements. Two three-hour stoppages will take place on 25 and 31 May. There will also be a protest outside the Mungia town hall on the 25th and workers will surround the Bilbao town hall on the 31st. The unions are targeting local authorities for allowing the contracting out of home care services without any minimum prices specified and no hours guaranteed for the workers. The workers have already carried out 10 stoppages and organised innumerable protests in their campaign to secure their first pay rise for five years.
May. 17, 2018 In advance of the third round of pay negotiations, a series of warning strikes by employees of the Red Cross have been taking place across the country to show the level of support for a decent pay rise. Public services union ver.di is calling for a pay rise of 7.5% with a minimum increase of EUR 200 a month. So far the employers have only offered a EUR 220 lump sum payment and a 2.4% increase this year with a further rise of 2.2% in July 2019. Ver.di says that the agreement should reflect current pay bargaining trends and should also include provisions on work-life balance and health that would help make working in the sector more attractive. The negotiations cover around 50000 of the Red Cross's 150000 employees who work in hospitals, emergency services, childcare, disability and eldercare and youth and training services.
May. 17, 2018 An official report supports calls by the SIPTU union for pay restoration for a wide range of social service workers employed by the non-profit sector in "Section 39" organisations. The workers often do jobs equivalent to those directly employed in the public sector. However, while public sector workers are covered by a collective agreement which should ensure that most see their pay restored to pre-austerity levels by 2020, there is no such commitment covering Section 39 workers. SIPTU says that the report also makes clear that the costs of pay restoration for these workers is entirely manageable. The union suspended strike action earlier in the year pending publication of the report and will now be looking for action from the government to deliver pay restoration.
May. 17, 2018 The FOA public services union has very much welcomed the significant increases to pay for health and social care assistants and trainees as a result of the recently negotiated public sector collective agreements. While all workers will benefit from the the overall 8.1% increase over three years, specific increases set out in the agreements will mean that health and social service assistants will see increases of 13% over the period and trainees will get pay rises of between 14% and 19%. The union believes these are important steps in revaluing low paid jobs in the sector and also making the sector much more attractive at entry level which is crucial to tackle the staff shortages faced by nearly three quarters of local authorities.
May. 17, 2018 Around 150 trade unionists from the health sector attended a meeting with the Prime Minister and Health Minister organised by the OSZSP trade union. The main focus of the meeting was on pay and concerns expressed by the union about the many health workers who do the same job but are on different rates of pay. OSZSP also wants a guarantee from the government that it will honour the agreement to pay all health workers a 10% increase in January 2019. It is worried about statements from the Health Minister that the pay rise should be allocated differently. While welcoming the Prime Minister's suggestion that health spending should increase to 9% of GDP, the union underlined the need for urgent action to increase staffing across the sector.
May. 18, 2018 After two weeks of industrial action short of a strike, employees of ACAS, the national service providing conciliation and employment advice, took strike action on 11 May in protest at management changes and excessive workloads.The workers, members of the PCS civil service union, are unhappy about the downgrading of their conciliation work and are faced with a big increase in workload following a surge in employment tribunal cases. Further strike action is planned for 6-7 June if management doesn't take action to resolve the dispute.
May. 18, 2018 Public service trade unions mobilised on 15 May for a demonstration outside the ministry for public service in protest at the spread of contractual employment and the erosion of civil service status. With over a million contractual workers making up a fifth of total civil service employment, the unions are concerned that the government's current plans, which include the prospect of increased use of contracts for public service workers, will further undermine civil service status. The unions argue that the poorer employment conditions of contractual workers are leading to increased inequality in the public service including a widening of the gender pay gap. This is one of the key issues behind the national day of strikes and protests on 22 May.
May. 18, 2018 The three main trade union confederations organised a national demonstration in Brussels on 16 May in protest at government plans to reform the pensions system. The estimated 70000-strong march was nearly three times the size of a similar demonstration in December, showing the strength of opposition to government policy which includes raising the pension age from 65 to 67. Some of the key demands include a minimum pension that delivers an adequate standard of living, gradual alignment of private and public sector pensions and proper account taken of arduous jobs and sickness and injury in calculating pensions.
May. 18, 2018 The FNV trade union and other unions involved in negotations for the maternity care sector cut short the latest round of talks in protest at the employers' failure to come up with a reasonable offer. The unions argue that the employers' offer actually represents a deterioration for workers and that it will do nothing to address the urgent recruitment situation resulting from an ageing workforce and workers leaving the sector, particularly for other parts of the health service where pay and conditions are better. The unions are looking for a serious offer from the employers before negotiations resume on 5 June.
May. 18, 2018 Health workers employed by hospitals covered by the Spekter employers' organisation will see pay increases of between 3.5% and 5%. The lower pay grades will get a NOK 16000 (EUR 1670) increase and this will take the minimum wage on the pay scale to NOK 314000 (EUR 32740). Other workers will generally get a 3.5% increase although there are higher increases for certain senior and management positions. The unions negotiating the deal say this agreement reflects the general pay trends across the economy.
May. 18, 2018 The ADEDY public sector confederation will be joining with the GSEE private sector confederation and other trade union and professional organisations in a 24-hour general strike on 30 May in protest at the continuing austerity being imposed on workers and citizens. ADEDY says that public sector workers are still suffering from pay cuts of up to 40% while more precarious working conditions have spread across the public services and there are critical staff shortages in important areas of health and social services.