2020 EPSU Collective Bargaining News December No.24
The strike across public health and administration on 9 December has led to an important breakthrough with meetings between public service union federation leaders and ministers. The unions underlined the need for an emergency recruitment plan to improve service quality and address the problems created by a 15-year freeze on recruitment. The unions also want to see action to reduce precarious employment and to boost skills and training. Along with a strengthening of safety protocols the unions are also looking at negotiating pay improvements in new collective agreements.
Public service trade unions have negotiated a new two-year agreement which will now be considered by each union’s national executive and put out to ballot of all individual members. The national executive of the Fórsa trade union has already decided to recommend the agreement to its members. The two-year agreement will run from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2022 and there will be a general pay increase of 1% or EUR 500, whichever is higher, in October of both years. In February 2022, an additional 1% will be available in sector bargaining funds. The agreement also provides for progress in
The FOA trade union, as part of a joint negotiating committee of public service unions, has submitted the main bargaining demands to employers in municipal and regional government with the focus on tackling low pay and pay inequality. The aim is for a flat rate pay increase that will be more beneficial to lower paid workers along with funding to reduce the pay inequalities suffered by occupations dominated by women. The unions also want to ensure a real pay increase that will protect purchasing power over the three years of the agreement that is set to run from 1 April 2021. Other demands
Public services union ver.di reports on a new agreement covering 6000 workers employed by energy companies in the Hesse region in central Germany. The union says that the employers were aiming for an agreement below that negotiated in the public sector but the union resisted this and negotiated a 2.6% pay increase which will be paid in two stages (2.1% in June 2021 and 0.5% in June 2022). The payment for trainees will be increased by EUR 50. In addition, there will be a Corona bonus of EUR 900 for those in pay scales 1-9 and EUR 700 for those in 10-14 while trainees will get EUR 350. The
Members of public services union Fagforbundet are involved in a strike over pay against church employers. Following the failure of mediation, the union had to resort to strike action to prevent employers from reducing starting pay rates for new priests. There is also concern that priests who switch jobs might lose out. The union argues that such a measure would only worsen the current recruitment crisis. Meanwhile, a strike of childcare workers organised by Fagforbundet and Delta was called off at the last minute when the Norlandia group agreed to introduce a pension scheme in line with the
Four energy trade union in France organised another day of action on 17 December in protest at what they see as major threats to the sector, such as the “Hercule” restructuring plans at EDF, and its public service mission. FNME-CGT, CFE-CGC Énergies, FO Énergie et Mines and FCE-CFDT are concerned that key decisions about the sector are being taken without proper consultation both with the unions and in parliament. Meanwhile, the Filctem-Cgil, Flaei-Cisl and Uiltec energy unions in Italy achieved a significant victory in the ENEL company following a campaign of industrial action. The unions
The SEP nurses’ union took part in a week of action (7-11 December) coordinated by the CGTP trade union confederation. For the SEP the key issues are precarious employment, recruitment and working time. The union wants to see all nurses on precarious contracts switched to permanent employment and argues that all nurses, regardless of contract, should accumulate points for their career progression. The SEP is also calling for increased recruitment, an end to 12-hour shifts and action to ensure a 35-hour week. Meanwhile, workers employed by the EGF waste company handed in a petition to the
Negotiations for a new collective agreement covering the state sector will begin in mid-January and the FNV trade union has surveyed members to identify the main priorities. Over 80% of respondents said that it was important for the union to maintain its proposed claim for a 5% pay increase. The feeling was that this was necessary to cover cost of living increases and recruit and retain staff. Members were also keen on an allowance for working from home or support to cover any costs related to home working. Early retirement is also on the agenda while the FNV will be looking for measures to
Support staff working in universities have rejected a proposed pay freeze while those working in colleges of further education have also rejected a 1% pay offer. University support staff point to the work they have been doing over the last nine months to maintain services and ensure safety and a dispute and industrial action are in prospect. Meanwhile further education staff say that their pay has fallen by 30% in real terms since 2009 and that there is a need to address a major pay disparity with the school sector.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has highlighted the growth in in-work poverty across Europe in support of its call for a strong and effective directive on minimum wages and collective bargaining. Sixteen countries saw the rate increase between 2010 and 2018 with Hungary, the UK, Estonia and Italy seeing the largest rises. The figures come from the latest annual ETUI/ETUC Benchmarking Working Europe 2020 report which also shows that just four member states have statutory minimum wages above the at-risk-of-poverty wage threshold. ETUC demands for the directive include a minimum
The ACAIP-UGT, CCOO, CIG y CSIF trade unions representing prison staff have met with the interior minister and head of the prison service to discuss progress with legislation foreseen for 2021. The new law should include several key demands that unions have been campaigning for in recent years. These include a reform of the prison system and harmonisation of jobs across the sector, along with a reclassification of certain posts in the public sector pay structure to reflect the complexity of tasks in prison staff occupations.
A new report by the Eurofound research organisation examines the long-term care sector and the challenges of low pay and difficult working conditions faced by workers, 80% of whom are women. The report indicates that there is good collective bargaining coverage in some countries, but this is often mainly in the public sector with low coverage in the private, for-profit sector and particularly low coverage of home care staff. Low pay, relative to other sectors, even impacts on the more skilled and senior staff and the widespread use of part-time work – double that of other sectors – also means