2019 November EPSU Collective Bargaining News 22
The FSS-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service unions mobilised members working in care across the country on 7 November to put pressure on the employers to agree to a EUR 1000 minimum monthly wage for the sector (14 payments). Demonstrations took place outside several of the regional headquarters of the CEOE employers' organisation. The unions are demanding urgent action to improve pay for the overwhelmingly female workforce that faces challenging working conditions with significant risks of musculo-skeletal and psycho-social disorders. The next action is planned for 14 December.
Both public services union UNISON and the RCN nursing union have voted for strike action in Northern Ireland over low pay and staffing levels. Members of both unions voted 92% in favour of strike action. The RCN’s action short of a strike will begin on 3 December building up to a strike on the 18th while UNISON will start its campaign on 25 November, also leading up to a strike on the 18th. The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance is currently balloting its members on action, again over low pay, and the result will be announced on 25 November.
The FNV, NU'91 and other unions representing hospital workers organised the first ever day of national industrial action in the sector on 20 November. Workers in 119 institutions took part, delivering the equivalent of a Sunday service but maintaining emergency provision. The unions are trying to put pressure on the employers to deliver a new collective agreement that addresses pay, workloads, pensions and work-life balance issues. There was also a national event in Utrecht where a petition was delivered to the head of the employers' organisation. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Around 5000 protestors joined a demonstration on 14 November organised by the FPSU trade union confederation. The trade union demands concerned the draft Budget for 2020 and the Labour Code. Unions are concerned about changes to the law that deprive civil servants and public sector workers of rights to social protection upon dismissal and planned changes that contain discriminatory rules on the employment rights of employees and threatens their collective protection. The unions also have specific demands on minimum and living wages and pensions.
The younion and GÖD public service unions have successfully negotiated a new pay settlement for the public sector after four rounds of negotiations. The main increase in pay will be 2.25% from 1 January 2020 but with a minimum guaranteed increase of EUR 50 a month this will mean 3.05% for the lowest paid. Other payments and allowances will increase by 2.3%. This is above the 1.7% inflation rate used as a basis of the negotiations and ahead of the current inflation rate of 1.13%.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has just produced a report emphasising the role that collective bargaining can play in meeting new labour market challenges. The report highlights the positive role that collective bargaining, particularly coordinated bargaining, can play in reducing inequality and supporting economic growth. It notes that some adaptation is required, particularly action to reduce the number of non-standard workers who are not covered by collective agreements. The report also argues that "state regulations need to leave space for collective
Non-teaching staff in the education sector, members of the public service unions in the CGTP confederation, will be taking strike action on 29 November. Their main demands include an end to the recruitment ratio that restricts the number of new recruits when workers leave the service, an overall increase in staffing, measures to reduce precarious employment and improvements to pay and career progression.
The government has confirmed the pay increase for public sector workers that was negotiated in September. There will be a flat rate CZK 1500 (EUR 59) increase per year, meaning on average a 7% increase. However, the government has also confirmed that it will abolish the pay table for lower paid staff. These include non-teaching staff in regional education, culture staff, secondary professions in social services and non-medical professions in hospitals. These will be transferred to another pay system meaning a additional increase of 3.5%. The increases take effect in January.
The FOA public services union has warned of the consequences of failing to maintain minimum staffing levels in childcare. It says that a survey of parents using childcare already reveals that 18% of parents have been affected by falling standards and reduced opening hours. FOA also quotes a television documentary that highlights the benefits to children of ensuring the minimum level of one childcare teacher per six children. Apart from the benefits to children the union also highlights the loss in tax revenue as the impact of fewer childcare places and reduced opening times equates to 5000
Nine union organisations representing health and social care workers along with professional organisations and health campaign groups came together again on 14 November calling for urgent action to tackle the crisis in the health system. Along with demands for increased funding, unions were calling for immediate measures to deal with staff shortages and increased pay for all health and social care staff. EPSU sent a message of solidarity and a delegation, including trade unionists from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands joined the demonstration. Some unions have already made a call for
After a series of warning strikes involving over 3000 workers, public service union ver.di has negotiated a new 28-month agreement covering 28000 employees of four university clinics in the Baden-Württemberg region. The deal is worth 7.1% paid in two stages (1 November 2019 and 1 February 2020). As a result of legislation that provides funding to ensure increased staffing of nursing and care personnel, these workers will get an extra EUR 200 a month. But ver.di has negotiated with the four hospitals to cover more occupations than those specified in the law.
The three main firefighter unions - FP CGIL VVF, FNS CISL and UIL PA VVF - organised a day of protests and strike action on 15 November with a range of demands. They want to see the work of firefighters properly recognised in terms of both pay and social protection. They also want action on health and safety, particularly in relation to the occupational risks and diseases they face. The unions want the government to ensure adequate funding not just for the renewal of the collective agreement but also to boost recruitment. Further action was planned for 21 November.