The main municipal unions in the Nordic region - Fagforbundet (Norway), Kommunal (Sweden), JHL (Finland) and FOA (Denmark) - have called on government and municipal employers to work together with unions to tackle the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. They argue that local and regional authorities need the finance to maintain jobs as well as the pay and condition of the municipal workforce and that these will be crucial to the economic recovery. The unions stress above all that austerity cannot be the answer and that the contribution of municipal workers should be recognised with funding for wage settlements and the services they provide.
Nordic unions coordinate their anti-austerity message
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The SSM trade union federation has successfully negotiated a reversal of government plans to suspend the payment of allowances to public service workers during April and May. The plan was part of COVID-19 emergency measures and would have applied to a wide range of payments related to length of service, night work, annual and other leave, retirement and severance. The federation welcomed the change, underlining how social dialogue can work even in emergency situations.
The OSZSP health union and doctors' union have called on the minister of health to ensure that bonus payments for working with COVID-19 patients are paid to all relevant staff across the health and social care sectors. The payments were agreed and confirmed by the minister of labour but the health minister has only contacted directly-managed teaching hospitals and a small number of other facilities to pay the allowance which ranges from 100 (3,70 EUR) to 500 (18,50 EUR) and up to 1500 CZK (EUR 55,30) an hour. The unions underline that all staff on the frontline should benefit whether