2019 April epsucob@NEWS 07
IN THIS ISSUE
- France: Action by public service unions and customs workers
- Italy: Tax workers plan action on 2 April
- Germany: Nurses to get additional allowance in deal with health firm
- Portugal: School workers mobilise over low pay and precarious work
- Ireland: Unions argue strongly against new contracts for nurses and midwives
- Ukraine: Energy union protests over failure to consult
- Romania: Health union continues protests over pay and bonuses
- Russia: Federal employees set to get 4.3% pay rise in October
- Norway: Collective agreements deliver on higher pay for carers and migrant workers
- Austria: Unions call workplace meetings as employer rejects bargaining demands
- Netherlands: Union rejects two offers from municipal employers
- Spain: Prison unions organise demonstrations across the country over violent attack
- UK: Unions call for urgent action as second major outsourcer collapses
- Europe: Report reveals continuing impact of austerity on wages
Mar. 27, 2019 The unions representing workers at the Revenue Agency, including Fp Cgil, Cisl Fp and Uilpa, are planning a national strike on 2 April in protest at the failure to pay additional payments to 30000 employees. The additional payments date back to 2016 and 2017 and the Agency has repeatedly failed to justify the reasons for the delay in payment. Even during recent compulsory arbitration the Agency couldn't explain the delay or commit to a payment date and so the unions agreed that they had to resort to strike action.
Mar. 27, 2019 At its meeting on 21 March, the central committee of the Nuclear Energy and Industry Workers’ Union (NEIWUU) protested about restructuring being carried out in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, where the authority responsible for the zone was taking decisions without consulting the union. The NEIWUU expressed concern about violations of social obligations that are stipulated by the sectoral agreement. The union also gave examples of staff relocations where it had to remind the authority that it had to consult with the union as required by the Labour Code. This was the sixth reform applied to workers in the zone and the NEIWUU says the authority has repeatedly ignored the union. The NEIWUU is also worried about commitments to increase wages and how this will be funded, with concerns that jobs will be cut if no additional funding is secured.
Mar. 27, 2019 After three rounds of negotiations, the ver.di health union has managed to negotiate a 6.5% rise for the 18000 workers employed by the Helios health company. On top of this nurses and midwives will get an additional allowance worth up to EUR 300 a month depending on level of qualifications. The 6.5% will be paid in three stages: 3.0% backdated to 1 January, 2.5% from 1 January 2020 and 1.0% from 1 November 2020. There will also be increases of EUR 60 (January 2019) and EUR 40 (January 2020) for trainees. Ver.di is pleased that the additional allowance acknowledges the value of nurses' work and their heavy workloads but is disappointed the payment won't come until next year.
Mar. 27, 2019 The vida and GPA-djp private service unions have called for workplace meetings to take place in all Red Cross establishments on 29 March. This is a reaction to the employers' decision to call off the next bargaining round on 22 March and delay negotiations to mid-April. The employer has so far rejected the main demands from the union for unified, national collective provisions to ensure a five-day week for all, better shift arrangements, additional payments for night and Sunday work and more holidays. The unions are also concerned that in some regions employees don't get paid breaks or allowances for children. The 8500 Red Cross employees work in rescue services, blood collection, homes for the elderly, care homes and childcare.
Mar. 27, 2019 The FNV trade union reports that negotiations covering the municipal sector have some way to go as the two sides remain quite far apart. The employers have effectively made two offers - one focuses more on paid leave while the other focuses on pay. The first fails to acknowledge the FNV's demands for a policy on wellbeing while offering little on pay while the second also lacked a wellbeing policy, threatened to reduce leave and its 4.55% pay offer is also well below the union target. The FNV wants a 7.55% increase over two years, 0.8% of which is part of the personal budget that employees can use to exchange for other benefits. The union also wants a wellbeing policy covering all ages that would include, for example, the scope for reduced hours for older workers.
Mar. 27, 2019 The Fagforbundet public services union is working to ensure that its members benefit from provisions in collective agreements - in this case in the municipal sector and covering childcare - that ensure that workers are paid the appropriate wage for their experience and qualifications. Workers can get up to six years of service-related pay if they have been away from work because of caring responsibilities. Migrant workers can also get qualifications and experience from other countries taken into account. The union gives the example of a childcare worker from Lithuania who saw a NOK 104000 (EUR 10700) increase in annual pay once her seven years of home caring responsibilities and six years of childcare work in Lithuania were taken into account. A cleaner got the same increase once the local authority checked that she had had to spend seven years caring for her husband and once they had corrected her service details.
Mar. 27, 2019 Unions representing nurses and midwives have been in the Labour Court where hearings continue over a new contract. Both the INMO nurses' and midwives' union and the SIPTU general union have strong objections to the government proposals. The unions point out that the working time arrangements would be too rigid for an overwhelmingly female workforce as would reducing shifts to only four hours or requiring nurses and midwives to work up to 45 km away from their normal workplace.
Mar. 27, 2019 Prison unions, ACAIP, FeSP-UGT and FSC-CCOO, organised lunchtime protests outside every prison service establishment on 20 March. They were reacting to the knife attack on a member of staff at the Soto del Real prison in Madrid. The unions argue that prison service management is failing to take adequate action to tackle increasing violence across the service, noting that the prison service has been condemned by the Central Labour Inspectorate for failing to properly apply occupational health legislation.
Mar. 28, 2019 Public service unions organised a national protest on 27 March, the day that draft legislation on public service reform was presented to the Council of Ministers. The unions oppose the main reforms that they fear will lead to increased use of workers on contracts rather than civil service status and plans to cut 120000 jobs. Most unions are also planning further action with 9 May as the date for demonstrations and strikes. Meanwhile, customs workers have been on a work-to-rule. While the impact of Brexit is one of the drivers of the action, the unions argue that there are other long-term problems that need addressing. Around 6000 jobs have been cut from the service over the last 10 years while the work has become more complex with increasing demands related to terrorism. Failure to invest to in up-to-date equipment has also contributed to the problems faced by border workers.
Mar. 28, 2019 Non-teaching staff at schools across the country took strike action on 21-22 March with support increasing on the second day and many schools closing. The unions are calling for action on low pay noting that with the recent increase in the minimum wage new workers are now often earning as much as staff with 20 years' service. The unions want to see a proper career structure put in place and measures to reduce precarious employment in order to recognise the contribution that these workers make to the education system.
Mar. 28, 2019 Public service unions have called for urgent action to address the immediate threat to jobs and the long-term issue of outsourcing in the wake of the collapse of a second major outsourcing company in two years. Interserve has around 45000 workers and government contracts worth GBP 2.1 billion (EUR 2.45 billion). Unite, the largest trade union in the company, has called for urgent talks in order to address the future of workers employed on the hundreds of contracts for cleaning, catering, facilities management and construction. Public service union Unison has called for all Interserve contracts to be brought back in-house.
Mar. 28, 2019 The 2019 edition of Benchmarking Europe, published by the European Trade Union Institute, reveals the continuing impact of austerity with data showing that workers in eight countries are, on average, worse off in real terms than they were 10 years ago. The eight countries are Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Hungary and the UK. In a further two countries - Finland and Belgium - average wages are at the same level as 10 years ago, taking account of inflation.
Mar. 28, 2019 Members of the Sanitas health and social care union joined protests in 14 cities around the country on 20 March as part of the union's continuing campaign over pay and bonuses. Sanitas is trying to ensure that all workers in the health and social services sector get the pay rise they are entitled to and it also wants to see limits on bonuses lifted. Further actions are planned if the government doesn't come up with concrete proposals.
Mar. 28, 2019 The government has confirmed that around two million employees of federal government and related agencies will get a 4.3% pay rise in October. The increase corresponds to the level of inflation in December 2018, however prices have already edged up in 2019 with the inflation rate at 5.0% in January and 5.2% in February.