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.
Pay and hours deal in private health and social care
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The vida and GPA-djp private services unions are coordinating strike action in 150 workplaces across 75 private health and social care organisations in the lead up to the next round of bargaining on 18 February that covers around 100000 workers. The employers have so far increased their pay offer from 2.37% to 2.5% and then to 2.8%/3.0% but the unions argue this still undervalues health and social care workers. They are also angry that the employers won't discuss the unions' call for a guarantee of reduced weekly working time or more annual leave without a cut in pay, with targets of a 35-hour
An analysis by the GMB trade union reveals that care workers in the private sector are three times more likely to be on a zero hours contract than those in the public sector. It also finds that employees of private care companies are paid 17% less on average than their public sector counterparts and four in ten leave their job every year. Over 50% per cent of private carers have no relevant social care qualifications, compared with less than 20% in the public sector. The union highlights the underlying problem of underfunding of the sector, an issue which it says is becoming more acute as
The JHL public services union is developing its bargaining claims across 55 national, sectoral agreements and 40 at agency and other levels. Negotiations are already underway in private social services where the union says the priority issues are pay rates and holiday entitlement that fall below public sector levels and excessive use of zero-hours contracts. This is despite the fact that the big private sector employers are making large profits.