2019 June epsucob@NEWS 11
IN THIS ISSUE
- UK: Two groups of outsourced workers take action
- Spain: Unions sign agreement to return to 35-hour week
- Germany: Keeping private health pay in line with public sector
- Portugal: Inspectors on strike over changes to career structure
- Finland: Unions gearing up to ensure end of working hours increase
- Denmark: Union plans action against private care company
- Europe: Analysis shows most workers not seeing benefits of increased productivity
- Ireland: Union gets confirmation of funding for pay rises in non-profit health and social care
- Netherlands: Tough negotiations in hospitals and mental health
- Europe: Report puts spotlight on Commission's approach to social dialogue
- Europe: Survey reveals key factors for well-being at work
- Italy: Unions take private health dispute to ministry
- Europe: Patent office union threatens strike action in June
- Norway: Unions take action over pension equality
May. 23, 2019 Two groups of outsourced workers providing services to central government took strike action in the week beginning 21 May. Cleaning, catering and security staff at the Department for Business, employed by the Aramark and ISS companies, took four days of action over their demand for a living wage of GBP 10.55 (EUR 12) an hour. The same week, employees of the outsourcing company Interserve at the foreign ministry took two days of strike action. The workers, involved in facilities management, printing, portering and cleaning, are fighting for trade union recognition and defence of their rights to holiday, sickness and redundancy pay.
May. 23, 2019 The FeSP-UGT and the public service federations of the CCOO confederation have negotiated an agreement with the region of Castilla and Leon that will bring 85000 public sector workers back on to a 35-hour week. This is a long-standing demand of the trade unions since hours were increased as part of austerity measures. The hours reduction should apply from 1 June in health and administration and from 1 September for teachers. The federations will continue to pursue the restoration of other reductions to rights and benefits that were also part of the austerity package.
May. 28, 2019 The ver.di health union in the Baden-Württemberg region has successfully negotiated a new pay deal with the Schmieder group of rehabilitation clinics that brings the pay of the 2000 employees in line with pay in municipal hospitals. The agreement will run until 31 March 2021 when the union will again aim to keep pay in alignment. There is only one other private health facility in the region - a non-profit organisation - that is also in line with the public sector. Ver.di sees the Schmieder deal as setting the standard and negotiated just in time to put pressure on the Waldberg-Zeil clinic in Oberschwaben where the next round of negotiations takes place on 19 June and where 600 workers have already taken strike action.
May. 28, 2019 The SINTAP public services union and other unions in the FESAP federation are taking strike action on 30 May in protest at government plans to change the career structure for workers in a range of state inspectorates. These cover inspectors dealing with social security, working conditions, national resources and other services. The unions argue that the changes will leave some workers worse off, looking at as much as 10 years without a promotion or pay increase. They say it will hamper career development, making it almost impossible to reach the highest grades. The unions' view is that it would be better to stick with the current arrangements.
May. 28, 2019 In 2016 unions reluctantly negotiated a competitiveness pact that involved an additional 24 hours' work a year with no extra pay, a 30% cut in holiday pay for public sector workers and a transfer of pension contributions from employers to employees. In anticipation of the next bargaining round some unions have already confirmed that they want the additional hours to be cut. Unions are particularly unhappy that while workers saw an increase in working time and an effective cut in take-home pay to deliver the pact, the employers failed to deliver on their side of the bargaining with more investment.
May. 28, 2019 The FOA public services union has warned the Vikapleje private eldercare company that it will face strike action from 15 June unless it ensures that its employees are paid in line with the municipal agreement. The company provides services for the Halsnæs municipality north west of Copenhagen and FOA has been trying for some time to negotiate an agreement with the company along the lines of those it has with many other private companies. The union estimates that Vikaplege is costing workers as much as DKK 90000 (EUR 12000) a year in lower pay and pension benefits.
May. 28, 2019 A new analysis covering wage and productivity developments in 25 EU countries indicates that pay for most workers has not risen in line with productivity. The report says that there is still a clear link between wages and productivity in most countries and that the trend has been for the two to be more in alignment in recent years. However, this development has yet to compensate fully for the 25-year period up to 1994 when wages lagged behind productivity.
May. 28, 2019 The SIPTU general workers' union has confirmed that thousands of health and social care workers employed by non-profit organisations (Section 39) are set to get a EUR 1000 pay increase as part of a process of pay restoration in line with what has been happening in the public sector. Around 50 organisations are covered by the initial negotiations and the situation in a further 250 organisations will be taken up in negotiations beginning in July. The union managed to negotiate a deal last December after an 18-month campaign.
May. 28, 2019 The FNV and other unions are facing tough negotiations in both hospitals (200000 workers) and mental health (80000 workers). In the hospital sector the employers have made an unacceptable offer of a 2.5% pay rise when the unions are looking for a 5% increase as well action to protect working time and rest periods and initiatives on employee health and training to improve retention. Similarly, in mental health unions want better pay and limits on flexibility but are being confronted by employer demands to reduce working time protection and sick pay provision.
May. 29, 2019 A working paper from the European Trade Union Institute, written by former European Commission official Jean-Paul Tricart, puts the spotlight on the way that the current Commission has followed its predecessor in moving away from a 20-year approach in support of social dialogue. While launching a process aimed ostensibly at the strengthening the social dialogue, the report argues that the current Commission has chosen "at will those outcomes of social dialogue that it would promote and those that it would not, and even those that it would go all out to discourage, lampoon or oppose." This leaves open the debate "as regards the legitimacy of the selective, restrictive approach."
May. 29, 2019 A new report from the Eurofound research agency, based on the European Working Conditions Survey, reveals key factors influencing health and well-being at work. While regulations on working time are important in restricting excessive hours, the report warns that work intensity and flexibility also need to be addressed. It also says that working arrangements are an important element and that more job control can help improve well-being along with the basic factors that demonstrate a recognition of a worker's skills and commitment, including pay, career prospects and job security.
May. 29, 2019 The public service federations - FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-FPL- organised a rally in Rome outside the health ministry on 23 May and sent a delegation to talk to the health minister about the continuing dispute in the private health sector. The unions want a resolution to the dispute over the failure of the two employer organisations - ARIS (religious health institutions) and AIOP (private sector hospitals) - to negotiate a new collective agreement for the sector. The last agreement was signed 12 years ago. The unions want the health ministry to put pressure on the employers to negotiate and to ensure resources are available to fund the long-awaited pay increase.
May. 29, 2019 The SUEPO trade union, representing staff at the European Patent Office (EPO), says that it will take strike action in June unless management responds to a series of key demands on fair pay and fair treatment of workers. There had been a very difficult industrial relations climate at EPO for some time but with the appointment of a new president last year there was some hope for an improvement. However, a recent staff survey reveals continuing problems and more or less a continuation of the hardline management of the old regime. A ballot for strike action will have to take place by the middle of June for a strike to take place at the end of June to coincide with the EPO administrative council.
May. 29, 2019 Just over 300 members of the Fagforbundet and FO health and welfare trade unions in three hospitals began strike action on 29 May in protest at unfair pension arrangements. The unions, among several coordinated by the LO confederation in its LO Stat group, are claiming full pension rights from day one and from the first Krone earnt in line with the arrangements in the municipal sector. At the moment employees working less than 20% of normal full-time hours are not able to build up pension rights. The unions point out that this is clearly gender discrimination as 75% of those affected are women. The unions estimate that the cost of providing pensions to this group of workers is only around 0.1% of the total hospital pay bill.