Workers in a range of non-governmental health and social service providers (Section 39 organisations) will begin strike action on 15 December. This is the latest stage in long-running campaign to ensure that workers in these bodies see their pay restored to pre-austerity levels in line with directly employed public sector workers. The action will be staggered across different organisations and will continue into January. Meanwhile, public sector unions have agreed to start talks with government over a new collective agreement on pay and conditions. The current Public Service Stability Agreement is due to expire on 31 December.
Strikes begin in health and social care organisations
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EPSU's affiliates in the prison services - FSC-CCOO, FeSP-UGT and ACAIP-USO - began their planned six-day strike campaign on 24 October. The unions are calling on the government to abide by its commitment to fund pay increases in the sector that are needed to deal urgently with staff shortages and to address the question of major pay disparities in different institutions. The strike action follows a long period of campaigning, lobbying and negotiating and the unions have agreed that further strikes will take place on 26 October with a further four days in November (6, 8 13 and 15).
Excessive workloads and unpredictable hours will feature prominently in the childcare sector negotiations that began on 8 November. With a slogan that "we're not jacks of all trades" the FNV trade union highlighted the problem that childcare workers were overburdened with cleaning, administrative and other tasks rather than child care itself. The union will be looking for restrictions on the extent to which employers can ask childcare workers to change their working time at short notice. The main pay claim will be for a 3.5% pay rise for the 80000 workers in the sector.
18 June saw the beginning of a series of actions by health workers to give more visibility to their campaign to secure increased funding for the sector and their claims for more jobs and better pay and conditions. Physical actions in Brussels and Charleroi were combined with online photo and video actions, highlighting the key demands and the work done in the fight against COVID-19. There was also a guarded welcome for progress on additional funding for the sector with progress in the parliamentary process of approving additional funding of EUR 402 million which would include funding for 5000