Trade unions in the public sector have written to the government, parliament and public sector employers to call for more staff, better pay and conditions and support for quality services - a new direction for the public sector rather than the austerity measures that are already being hinted at. Meanwhile, as hospitals gradually return to normal, the FNV has underlined the importance of ensuring that the collective agreement is properly applied in terms of working time, on-call, rest time and annual leave. The union has also a negotiated a pay deal in social employment services where workers will get 3.2% over two years.
Unions call for more resources not austerity
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In a timely intervention, the FSC-CCOO has called on the government to put more resources into the prevention and fighting of forest fires - an issue which the union sees has become one of the most urgent for the country and rural communities. Along with a strengthening of the fire service - increased employment, professionalisation and training - the union argues that more has to be done to take preventative measures, some of which could actually help to boost rural economies.
Negotiations are underway in local government and while unions are aiming for a real pay increase they are also setting their sights on improvements in other working conditions. They want more investment in competence development and training during working time. However, a key demand is for more full-time work. Around two thirds of health and social care workers and 40% of those in childcare and education work part-time. Unions argue that this does not make the sector attractive and that full-time hours are needed to deliver decent pay. They also point to the benefits to the quality of
The UNISON, Unite and GMB public service unions have called on the government to increase funding for local government to cover a higher pay rise for council workers in England and Wales. The unions are pushing for a 10% pay rise to begin to address the 20% fall in pay in real terms in recent years but employers have so far offered only 2.7% for 2020-21. The unions argue that it is important to recognise the role that many of these workers have played during the current crisis.