The FeSP-UGT public service federation has sent a number of key demands to the public service ministry for a new agreement covering public sector workers. The union wants action on improving employment conditions and reducing precarious employment but also has a number of specific proposals on telework, noting that the estimated impact of COVID-19 has been an increase from 26,000 to more than 450,000 public employees doing telework. Among the key demands are action to balance security and flexibility with increased productivity; voluntary nature of telework; equality of rights with other workers; privacy, confidentiality, risk prevention, training and information; health and safety; working time and consultation. Meanwhile, the FSC-CCOO federation has denounced the fact that, more than a year after the entry into force of agreement covering 40000 workers in state administration, the government is refusing to increase salaries and the payment of accumulated pay arrears amounting to some 35 million euros. There is also a failure to establish new professional classification system. The union has called for an immediate confirmation of funding for the pay increase and says it will consider protests and mobilisation after crisis if this is not addressed.
Federations raise key issues on employment, pay and telework
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Public services union Fórsa believes that working time should be an important element of any discussion around telework/remote working. The union is preparing a response to a government consultation on remote working as well as a guide for negotiators. It is estimated that up to a third of employees in Ireland were remote working at the height of the COVID-19 emergency and the union now wants to ensure that conditions for telework are fully negotiated with proper safeguards and that emergency arrangements are not simply made permanent.
Unions organising in state administration in both Spain and Portugal have raised serious concerns about the approach to telework and particularly governments taking the opportunity to regularise arrangements that were only adopted on an emergency basis. While there is recognition of the potential benefits to work-life balance, unions argue that fundamental issues need to be addressed through collective bargaining in relation to working time, the right to disconnect, provision of equipment, health and safety, training, contact with the workplace and the voluntary nature of the decision to
(March 2017) A joint report from the Eurofound agency and the International Labour Organisations examines the advantages and disadvantages of telework and puts forward some policy proposals on key issues. The report points to positive effects such as a shortening of commuting time, greater working time autonomy, better work–life balance, and higher productivity. However, it also notes the risks of longer working hours, interference between work and personal life, and work intensification, leading to high levels of stress.