2019 April epsucob@NEWS 08
IN THIS ISSUE
- France: Support for 9 May strike actions grows
- Italy: Rally of private health care workers
- Poland: School staff on all-out strike
- Germany: Doctors' union mobilises over working time
- Switzerland: Unions build for national women's strike on 14 June
- Netherlands: Municipal negotiations stalled
- Germany: Union secures 30-month deal in regional government in Hessen
- Norway: Municipal unions aim for real wage increase and closing of pay gap
- Croatia: Trade unions launch retirement age campaign
- Portugal: Firefighters protest over careers, pensions and working time
- Ireland: Community employment advisors take further action
- Europe: ETUC publishes report on new forms of employment
- Europe: Eastern countries have lowest labour costs but highest increases
- Turkey: Unions reject government's plans on severance, tax and pensions
Apr. 15, 2019 Nine trade union organisations are now supporting the national public sector strike on 9 May - CFDT, CFTC, CFE-CGC, CGT, FAFP, FO, FSU, Solidaires, and UNSA. The key demands are for the government to stop its plan for a transformation of the public service that involves around 120000 job cuts. The unions are also calling for an end to the pay freeze and a pay increase for all public sector workers. The unions claim that the government talks about the importance of the work of civil servants while at the same time undermining their rights, benefits and working conditions. They also say that there has been a failure to negotiate properly with the unions and to take account of the alternative proposals they have for the public sector.
Apr. 15, 2019 After the sixth round of bargaining the negotiations over a new collective agreement for 160000 municipal workers have stalled. The FNV public service union is now reflecting on what steps to take and whether to organise any protest action. The union is bitterly disappointed by the VNG employer organisation's refusal to consider a health and wellbeing policy for the sector and its wholly inadequate pay offer. The FNV says that the latest offer of 4.9% is less than 2.5% over the proposed two-year agreement and so below the current inflation rate of 3%.The union argues that municipal workers should get a real pay increase and benefit from the current positive state of the Dutch economy.
Apr. 15, 2019 Following the successfuly negotiations covering over a million regional government workers earlier this year, the ver.di public service union has negotiated a similar deal for the 45000 employees of the Hessen region in central west Germany which is not part of the national negotiations. The 30-month agreement runs until 30 September 2021 with pay rises for all workers worth 3.2% (minimum EUR 100) in both March 2019 and February 2020 and a third stage increase of 1.4% in January 2021. Workers on entry grades will see higher increases amounting to 11% over the course of the agreement.
Apr. 16, 2019 The Marburger Bund (MB) doctors' union organised a warning strike and 5000-strong national demonstration in Frankfurt on 10 April in protest at the failure of the VKA employers' organisation to address the union's key demands on working time. The negotiations cover around 55000 doctors employed in 500 municipal hospitals across the country. MB is calling for a set of clear measures to ensure better working time planning, reduced workloads and more free time. Following the third round of bargaining the union regards the latest employers' offer as just not worth considering. MB is looking for a reform of rules on on-call time, strict procedures on recording working time, two free weekends per month, clear maxima for on-call hours, no full-time work after a period on on-call and additional pay for on-call hours. The union has convened its collective bargaining committee to decide what next steps to take.
Apr. 16, 2019 The leaders of the three main trade union confederations - CGIL, CSIL and UIL - joined a major rally in Rome on 15 April for workers in private health care. The three federations representing the 300000 workers in the sector called the rally to discuss the next steps in their campaign to negotiate a new sector agreement, 12 years after the last one was signed. The federations highlight the heavy workloads and precarious employment conditions being faced by many private health workers. The unions are angry that after a year of negotiations, the two employer organisations - ARIS and AIOP - have so far refused to offer the level of funding needed to cover higher pay and other improvements in a new collective agreement.
Apr. 16, 2019 Trade unions preparing for pay negotiations in the local government sector are looking to secure a real pay increase for all workers. Their other key aims include higher increases for lower paid workers and action to reduce the gender pay gap with workers in sectors dominated by women particularly targeted. The unions argue that with unemployment down municipal workers should benefit from positive economic developments. They also want to see a proper recognition of skills and competences noting that there is a shortage of staff in some occupations and that in recent years some categories of skilled workers have not seen their pay develop in line with other groups, particularly managers.
Apr. 16, 2019 The vpod/ssp public services trade union along with the SGB/USS trade union confederation is continuing to build for the national women's strike planned for 14 June. The aim of the strike is to address 10 major issues including the gender pay gap, work-life balance, working hours that are either too short or excessively long, sexual harassment and violence, inadequate pensions and the undervaluation of women's work. Along with strike action the unions will be organising events and actions at workplaces and towns and cities across the country.
Apr. 16, 2019 Three trade union confederations have come together to launch a campaign to secure a referendum with the aim of reversing changes to the retirement age. The unions want to retain 65 as the normal retirement age but the government has already put in place legislation to increase it to 67 and more recently to bring forward the date of full implementation. If the unions can get the support of 10% of the electorate then the government will have to organise a referendum. EPSU sent a message of support to the unions.
Apr. 16, 2019 Teachers, childcare workers and school administrative and other staff began an all-out strike on 8 April following three weeks of negotiations with the government over pay. The negotiations also came after a three-year campaign of demonstrations and protests over low pay in the sector affecting both teachers and other school staff. With the government refusing to come up with a decent pay offer, support for strike action was very high, registering 80%-90% in some areas. The action comes at a time when other groups of public service workers are either taking strike action or pushing for higher pay. EPSU sent a message of support.
Apr. 16, 2019 The ETUC has published a report examining legal issues arising from new forms of employment. It hopes that it will make an important contribution to the debate around what action to take to provide protection for workers who fall outside the normal framework of labour and social legislation. The legal experts who compiled the report included a proposal for a new “personal work relation” that might help tackle these issues.
Apr. 16, 2019 The latest labour cost figures published by the Eurostat agency show that the highest increases were recorded in Eastern Europe but where average costs remain the lowest across the European Union. There were double-digit increases in Romania, Latvia and Lithuania with Hungary not far behind at just under 10%. Average hourly labour costs in Europe range from 5.40 in Bulgaria to 43.5 in Denmark with the average at 27.4 in the European Union and 30.6 in the Eurozone. The data excludes agriculture and public administration.
Apr. 17, 2019 As reported in epsucob@NEWS 05 in March, community employment advisors are campaigning to secure pension rights that should have been provided for them 11 years ago following a decision by the Labour Court. With no action from the government the workers are now planning five days of strike action to increase the pressure on the government to resolve the dispute.
Apr. 17, 2019 The STAL and STML unions representing firefighters organised a protest in Lisbon on 16 April outside the Interior Ministry. The main concerns for the unions are about government proposals to reform the career structure for firefighters and to reduce retirement benefits. Other issues relate to payments for oncall time, 12-hour shifts and implementation of a pay structure that the two unions negotiated with the ministry. The unions have been frustrated by the government's reluctance to negotiate, delaying and then postponing a meeting due on 2 April.
Apr. 17, 2019 Unions have reacted negatively to new government proposals for economic transformation. The unions are particularly concerned about the possbility of changes to severance payments which they see as a fundamental employment right especially where workers experience widespread restructuring and precarious employment conditions. The unions are also worried about plans to give a greater role to private pensions and about possible changes to taxation. While proposals for a reduction in indirect taxation might be welcome the unions are unhappy that the measures could further reduce the contribution of corporate tax to public finances which have already been in steady decline over the past 10 years.