2019 March epsucob@NEWS 05
IN THIS ISSUE
- Austria: Better pay and working time in private health and care
- Italy: Unions in private healthcare mobilise as negotiations are suspended
- Germany: Union finally secures agreement after long-running dispute in care company
- Portugal: Massive support for strikes but government intervenes in health sector
- Netherlands: Unions want better offer from municipal employers
- UK: Over a million public service workers get less than living wage
- Norway: Union looks for substantial wage growth
- Switzerland: Public service unions calling for higher pay and better work-life balance
- Ireland: Community employment supervisors take action over pensions
- Spain: Prison unions continue their campaign over pay and jobs
- Denmark: Union attacks city's cuts to cleaning services
- Europe: Spain, Greece and Bulgaria top minimum wage increases
- Germany: Energy employers' pay offer well below union target
- Europe: Bargaining and industrial relations news updates
Feb. 27, 2019 Services unions vida and GPA-djp are pleased with the pay and working time package they have negotiated in the private health and care sector that covers 100000 workers. After five bargaining rounds, the employers agreed to a 3.2% pay increase and a series of measures on working time. These include an extra day of holiday after two years' service, additional payments for covering shifts, part-time work for older workers, recognising that time taken to change clothes at work is working time, new rules on split shifts and more certainty with planning rotas. There will also be an extra EUR 100 a month for trainees and extra benefits for specific employees, including childcare workers.
Feb. 27, 2019 The Forsa and SIPTU public services organised strike action on 18 February involving their members who work as community employment supervisors. These workers are responsible for running schemes to help the long-term unemployed and disadvantaged workers to get into regular employment. In 2009 the Labour Court ruled that they should be provided with a pension scheme but no government has taken action since then. The unions are calling on the government to act swiftly to provide supervisors with pension benefits as hundreds have been forced to retire on only the basic state pension.
Feb. 27, 2019 The FOA public services union has strongly criticised plans by Copenhagen City Council to cut DKK 47 million (EUR 6.3 million) from the cleaning budget in its children and youth administration services. The union says that 450 workers will be affected either with reduced hours (some going from 37 to 21 hours a week) and others facing redundancy. FOA argues that this is effectively increasing the working poor, with many workers facing the prospect of doing two, three or more jobs to make ends meet. The union also argues it will impact on cleaning quality and health and safety.
Feb. 27, 2019 The federal collective bargaining committee, including public services union vpod, is calling on the government to include in the 2020 budget funding for a pay rise to fully compensate for inflation. It also wants a minimum increase CH 200 (EUR 175) per month to the benefit of lower paid workers. The positive fiscal situation means that the government is also committed to a pay rise in 2019 to cover inflation. The unions also want concrete measures on work-life balance for those with caring responsibilities.
Feb. 27, 2019 The public service federations - FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-FPL - have suspended negotiations with two private sector employer organisations in healthcare - AIOP and ARIS. The negotiations cover around 300000 workers and the unions are frustrated by the employers' refusal to ensure funding for a new collective agreement, 12 years after the last agreement was signed. The unions have also declared a state of mobilisation and have written to the President of the Conference of the Regions to alert him to the situation and to ask for an urgent meeting.
Feb. 27, 2019 The YS group of unions is looking for substantial real wage growth in this year's negotiations on pay. Its recent conference on wages highlighted the fact that while wages increased on average by 2.8% in 2018, this marked only a small increase in real terms as prices rose by 2.7%. In fact the union points out that on average wages in real terms are no different from five years ago and so with unemployment falling and a relatively positive outlook it is time for trade unions to push for higher wage growth.
Feb. 27, 2019 After four rounds of bargaining the VNG local government employers' organisation has come up with a first offer of a 2.5% pay increase over a 15-month period. For the FNV trade union this is effectively a 2% increase over 12 months and provides no real wage increase. The union will be pushing for something closer to its claims for a 5% pay rise over 12 months. It is relatively positive about the negotiations, noting that it is also discussing a range of other issues with employers including ensuring healthy and sustainable workplaces and job security.
Feb. 27, 2019 The first pay offer from the employers in the AVEU regional negotiations covering mainly energy companies is some way off the pay claim submitted by the unions. Services union ver.di is aiming for a 6.1% pay increase over 12 months with a EUR 150 a month increase for trainees. The union conducted a broad consultation of members and there was clear support for a pay rise that compensated for inflation and increased productivity and that would give workers a share of the economic success of companies in the sector. In contrast, the employers have offered a 27-month deal with two increases of 2.1% and a three-month period of no increase but with a lump sum payment.
Feb. 28, 2019 Public service unions report very high levels of support for the national strike action on 14-15 February. All sectors of the public services were affected and this gives strength to the unions' claims to end the 10-year pay freeze and to address a wide range of other issues including career progression. Meanwhile, in relation to a separate action the SEP nurses' union has condemned the government for using its power of civil requisition to end a strike. The union argues that this is an excessive measure that undermines the right of healthworkers to take action and will, in any case, do nothing to resolve the dispute. Information on the right to strike in Portugal is now available in the new EPSU-ETUI series of country factsheets.
Feb. 28, 2019 After many months of conflict and a total of 202 days of strike action, services union ver.di has negotiated a new collective agreement with the Celenus clinic in Bad Langensalza in central Germany, a subsidiary of the French-based multinational Orpea. The deal includes pay increases of 1.5%-2.5%, an increase of EUR 50 on holiday pay to take it to EUR 500, a childcare allowance of EUR 75 a month and a lump sum payment of EUR 190. The union believes strongly that the workers deserve more but is relieved that the dispute is over and to be able to return to a normal process of collective bargaining.
Feb. 28, 2019 A new analysis from the research organisation, the Living Wage Foundation, shows that over one million public service workers are paid less than the living wage - GBP 9.00 (EUR 10.50) an hour outside London and GBP 10.55 (EUR 12.30) in London. These figures are calculated by independent researchers and are higher than the official minimum wage. Public service union UNISON says that recent pay deals in health and local government have lifted minimum wage rates in collective agreements above the living wage but many workers employed by private contractors in care, catering and cleaning and other services are on lower rates. UNISON members at Liverpool's Women's Hospital took strike action on 25 February to secure higher pay while other contractors in the health service have committed to increase rates. Members of PCS working for contractors at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have also been on strike for higher pay.
Feb. 28, 2019 The unions organising in the prisons sector - FSC-CCOO, ACAIP, FeSP-UGT and CSIF - continue to press the government to honour its original commitment to increase funding to the service. The unions organised a demonstration outside the General Directorate of Public Services on 18 February. They are particularly angry that the government withdrew its offer of EUR 123 million to cover pay rises for the 23000 workers in the sector over the period 2019-2021.
Feb. 28, 2019 The Eurofound research agency has published a short analysis of recent minimum wage increases ahead of its more detailed annual report. The largest increases were recorded in Spain (+22% to €1,050), Greece (+11% to €758, 14 payments of EUR 650) and Bulgaria (+10% to €261). However, in Greece, it represents only the first increase since 2012 when the rate was slashed as part of austerity measures. Lithuanian workers saw a rise of 7.5% but with changes to taxation the take home pay of those on the minimum wage has risen by 39% (to €555).
Mar. 01, 2019 The European Trade Union Institute has published updates on several countries in its Reforms Watch database. Latest news covers Greece (minimum wage), Slovenia (public sector pay), Portugal (strike activity) and Ireland (legislation to ban zero-hour contracts). There are also updates on Luxembourg, Malta, Belgium, Cyprus and Hungary.