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 include training for unskilled works, improvements in working time, getting more workers involved in vocational education and reducing the use of hourly-paid workers.
Action on equal pay and low pay tops negotiating agenda
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Non-teaching staff at schools across the country took strike action on 21-22 March with support increasing on the second day and many schools closing. The unions are calling for action on low pay noting that with the recent increase in the minimum wage new workers are now often earning as much as staff with 20 years' service. The unions want to see a proper career structure put in place and measures to reduce precarious employment in order to recognise the contribution that these workers make to the education system.
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 Eurofound research agency has published a short analysis of recent minimum wage increases ahead of its more detailed annual report. The largest increases were recorded in Spain (+22% to €1,050), Greece (+11% to €758, 14 payments of EUR 650) and Bulgaria (+10% to €261). However, in Greece, it represents only the first increase since 2012 when the rate was slashed as part of austerity measures. Lithuanian workers saw a rise of 7.5% but with changes to taxation the take home pay of those on the minimum wage has risen by 39% (to €555).