Firefighters, members of the STAL and STML trade unions, took strike action from 18 December to 2 January in protest at government plans to change the statutes covering their pay, retirement and other conditions. The unions not only reject the proposed changes but are angry that the government aimed to implement them without any consultation or negotiation with the unions. The unions have made a series of demands related to protecting basic pay and ensuring appropriate payments for on-call and overtime work as well as allowances for dangerous and arduous conditions. They are also seeking improvements in career progression, support for firefighters injured at work and better training,
Firefighters strike to defend pay and conditions
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The FNV trade union has negotiated a new 12-month agreement covering around 7000 workers in the waste processing sector. There will be a 3.75% pay increase with 2.75% paid in January and 1% in August along with a one-off payment of EUR 125. Two hundred workers on flexible contracts will be offered permanent jobs. There are also improved provisions for training and there will be talks over pensions and more possibilities for early retirement related to the arduousness of the job and length of service. The young workers' pay rate (18) will rise from 85% to 87.5% of the full adult rate.
The ETUC reports that it has successfully negotiated and lobbied for a Recommendation by the European Council that sets out a number of measures to improve apprenticeships. These include:involving social partners in the design, governance and implementation of apprenticeship systems; a written agreement on learning and working conditions; a call for apprentices to be paid in line with national or sectoral requirements or collective agreements; and that they should be entitled to social protection, including necessary insurance in line with national legislation.