The third round of bargaining in the private health and care sector, covering around 125000 workers, ended without a result. However, the two unions - vida and GPA-djp - are sticking to their main aim of achieving a 35-hour with full compensation in terms of pay and staffing. The unions say there were constructive discussions about a staged implementation of an agreement. They argue that the commitment to shorter hours is vital for the sector to boost recruitment and tackle the long-standing issue of staffing shortages. The unions are planning to convene staff council meetings to report on the negotiations and build support for the claim.
Health unions stick to aim of 35-hour week
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The vida and GPA-djp private service unions have submitted their main collective bargaining claim to the employers for the health and social care sector that covers 125000 workers. The unions' key demand is for a 35-hour week with no loss of pay. They see this as essential for making the sector more attractive to boost recruitment, tackle staffing shortages and address the excessive workloads and stress that are rife in the sector. The unions also point out that part-time workers will benefit with an effective pay increase of 8.6% as their current hourly rate is based on a 38-hour week and the
(July 2016) Public sector workers have won back their right to a 35-hour week. Legislation came into effect earlier this month reversing the increase to 40 hours a week pushed through as part of a range of austerity measures in 2013. Most workers benefit immediately although implementation in some cases may be delayed to ensure continuity of service. Public sector unions have been waging a high-profile campaign against the five-hour increase, negotiating hundreds of local agreements across the public sector to retain the 35-hour week. Read more at CGTP (PT) and UGT (PT).
The SEP nurses' union reported 71% support for the start of its national day of strike action on 28 June. The action is the latest step in the union's campaign to ensure that all nurses benefit from the return to the 35-hour week promised to public service workers. The SEP is angry that the Ministry of Health has not only failed to recruit the required number of nurses to ensure that the 35-hour limit can be met but is proposing that new workers be employed on fixed-term contracts.