2020 EPSU Collective Bargaining News April 08
IN THIS ISSUE
- Austria: Pay and hours deal in private health and social care
- Sweden: Health workers benefit from crisis agreement
- Hungary: EPSU protests against attack on culture workers' pay and conditions
- Denmark: Union welcomes recognition of COVID-19 as occupational disease
- Russia: Pay and tax measures to benefit health workers
- Poland: EPSU protests over threat to civil service pay and jobs
- Finland: Agreement in state sector as local government negotiations continue
- Italy: Union launches online psychological support for health workers
- Spain: Unions raise key issues for return to work in public administration
- Czech Republic: Unions calls for bonuses for workers on the frontline against COVID-19
- UK: Unions call for higher pay rise for local government workers
- Ireland: Unions raise serious concerns about childcare provision for health workers
Apr. 22, 2020 The vida and GPA-djp services unions have negotiated a pay and hours deal for 125000 workers in the private health and social care sector. Pay will increase by 2.7% this year backdated to 1 February and then by inflation plus 0.6% from 1 January 2021. The unions had been demanding a 35-hour week for all workers in the sector and this remains a target. The new agreement, however, does provide for a 37-hour week from 1 January 2022. With weekly pay staying the same for full-time workers this will mean a higher hourly rate and part-time workers will be compensated with an additional increase of 2.7%. This year workers who have been dealing with patients infected with COVID-19 will get a bonus of EUR 500.
Apr. 23, 2020 Health workers in Stockholm are benefitting from the implementation of an agreement on emergency situations that provides for a 120% additional payment on top of normal pay. The agreement was negotiated by several unions last year mainly in response to the spate of major forest fires. At the beginning of the month the SKR municipal employers' organisation agreed that the critical situation arising from COVID-19 met the criteria to activate the agreement in Stockholm.The agreement provides for longer working hours and different rules on rest periods. If emergency overtime is worked then the additional payment rises to 150%.
Apr. 24, 2020 EPSU has sent letters to the prime minister and leaders of political groups in parliament protesting at legislation that will remove public service status from over 20000 workers in libraries, museums, archives, culture centres, theatres and orchestras. This is a group of workers that is mainly low paid and whose pay has been frozen for over 10 years. The additional employment protection of public service status is one of their few main benefits. The government is using its emergency to push through the change at breakneck speed without the usual parliamentary process or consultation with trade unions. This is despite the fact that this permanent change, not taking effect until November, is unrelated to the current crisis.
Apr. 24, 2020 The FOA sees it has a huge victory that COVID-19 is now recognised as an occupational disease and has also welcomed the fact that the process of proving infection has been relaxed. While it is already clear that workers in hospitals and care homes will be covered because of the nature of their work, FOA says that there is now the possibility for more groups of workers to be included such as day care workers, parking attendants and others who come into regular close contact with the public. Proof of risk of infection can now be based simply on a description of work and extent of contact with citizens.
Apr. 24, 2020 The HWURF health workers' union reports that special COVID-19 tax measures have been extended to doctors with personal income tax incentive payments for those facing special working conditions and additional workloads when working with patients with the virus and people at risk of infection. Meanwhile the FNPR trade union confederation has called for state-wide base salaries to be set across healthcare and other parts of the public service to end the wide variation in salaries between regions. The measure was due to be discussed at the Tripartite Commission for the Regulation of Social and Labour Relations on 24 April. The FNPR had earlier made a call for a 50% increase in pay for health workers dealing with COVID-19 patients.
Apr. 24, 2020 EPSU has sent a letter to the prime minister protesting against the introduction of the so-called Shield Two law that allows for regulations to be passed to cut the jobs and pay and conditions of civil servants and other workers in public administration. Poland has not declared a state of emergency and yet the legislation was rushed through without the normal parliamentary procedure nor consultation with trade unions. Furthermore, parts of the Labour Code and legislation on collective redundancies will not apply if the regulations are implemented.
Apr. 24, 2020 A new collective agreement covering the 75000 workers in the state sector has been agreed, running 23 months from 1 April 2020 to 28 February 2022. The pay rise over the period will be 3.07% in line with other pay increases in the current bargaining round. Negative elements introduced during the so-called competitiveness pact with the then right-wing government in 2016 have been removed. From now on the annual holiday bonus will be paid in full (it was cut by 30% in each of the last three years) and the 24 hours of extra unpaid work each year will also end although there is a provision for extra hours to be worked but at normal pay. Meanwhile, there are major disagreements, including on the overall pay increase, in the negotiations in local government that cover 310000 workers.
Apr. 24, 2020 The Fp-Cgil public service federation has launched an online support service for health workers on the front line of the fight against COVID-19. Recognising the increased psycho-social risks for care staff working long hours and having to adapt to emergency working arrangements, the union has put together a pool of 40 or so psychologists, psychiatrists and other welfare support workers who are providing their services free for this online service.
Apr. 24, 2020 The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have been setting out key demands in relation to the rules that should apply before a return to work in public administration. The FSC-CCOO is highly critical of the return-to-work plan drawn up by the government which it says fails to take account of key advice from the ministry of health. It also points out that there is nothing in the plan in relation to telework which is currently being done by around 60% of public administration workers. The union says that while issue of technical support and health and safety were not fully dealt with because of the crisis, these do now have to be properly addressed.
Apr. 24, 2020 The OSZSP health and social care union has joined with the doctors' union in calling for a bonus for employees of hospitals, emergency medical services, social services facilities and public health protection authorities, who provide health and social services to patients and clients with COVID-19, or are at risk of COVID-19 infection. The three levels of monthly bonus would reflect the degree of risk faced by the worker and would start at CSK 20000 (EUR 730), rising to CSK 30000 (EUR 1100) and then CZK 40000 (EUR 1645). The initial response from the prime minister is to acknowledge that health and social care employees are a priority group for the government. The union is also in talks with social service employers.
Apr. 24, 2020 The UNISON, Unite and GMB public service unions have called on the government to increase funding for local government to cover a higher pay rise for council workers in England and Wales. The unions are pushing for a 10% pay rise to begin to address the 20% fall in pay in real terms in recent years but employers have so far offered only 2.7% for 2020-21. The unions argue that it is important to recognise the role that many of these workers have played during the current crisis.
Apr. 24, 2020 Trade unions representing health workers - INMO, SIPTU and Forsa - have been highly critical of the government's failure to come up with an effective plan to provide childcare for nurses, midwives and other care workers. Unions report that many health workers are staying away from work or using annual leave or sick leave as they have no childcare provision. Those who can find childcare are often paying high costs and proposals and unions are saying that proposals that offer leave for partners of health workers fail to recognise the limitation of the measure. Unions are particularly disappointed that so little has been done since the issue was raised weeks ago when the government closed schools and childcare facilities.