Trade unions representing workers in the electricity, gas and water sectors organised a day of strike action on 17 December. The unions are concerned that changes to procurement rules will lead to more outsourcing and so threaten jobs, pay and conditions and the quality of services. Meanwhile, unions organising in the private health sector began a series of regional actions with a strike in Lazio on 14 December as part of a campaign to secure a new sector agreement covering 150000 workers. It is 12 years since the last agreement was negotiated.
Health and utilities workers in action
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Public service union UNISON reports that the Medirest private company will give its 2,200 staff, who provide cleaning, portering and catering services in NHS hospitals across England, will see their pay increase by an average of 5% from the beginning of June. The lowest pay rate will rise from £8.75 (EUR 9.80) to £9.21 (EUR 10.30) an hour, bringing it in line with the minimum rate for directly employed health workers.
The coronavirus pandemic has now infected more than 2 million people worldwide and caused over 145,000 deaths. Like so many other key workers, workers in the waste collection, water and energy distribution sectors are risking their lives
The five national trade union confederations sent a solidarity message to the MESZK chamber of healthcare professionals in support of its protest march in Budapest on 31 July. The demonstrators called for pay increases for nurses in line with those already awarded to doctors and argued this was crucial to help stem the migration of nurses to western Europe. Earlier this year the five confederations also came together to file a complaint with the International Labour Organisation over the government’s imposition of new legislation which removes the rights to negotiate and take strike action