2021 EPSU Collective Bargaining News April No.9
Following negotiations with the government, the OSZSP health union has won payments of up to CSK 120000 (€4650) for emergency medical staff. These workers weren’t covered by special payment negotiated for other groups of health staff, but the union pointed out that ambulance workers have faced massively increased workloads, with callouts increasing by more than a third, and in many cases the same level and type of work carried out by intensive care staff in hospitals.
The FPSU trade union confederation continues to lobby and campaign against legislation being proposed by the government that will seriously undermine worker and trade union rights. The confederation organised meetings with MPs at the parliament on 29 April. Unions have repeatedly pointed out, with support from international trade union bodies, that the proposed laws conflict with International Labour Organisation conventions as well as the Ukrainian constitution. Draft law 5371, for example, will create new categories of employees and effectively deny basic rights to organise and collectively
The younion and GÖD public sector unions, representing around 120000 workers in health and social care have called on the Austrian Chancellor to stand by his commitment to improve pay for those working in intensive care during the pandemic. The two unions underline that their demand covers all health and care workers, not just intensive care staff, as they are all part of an essential team and need to work together to deliver care and who have endured significant physical and mental challenges in maintaining services. Younion and GÖD are calling for a tax-free €1000 bonus for all health and
Workers in energy production and supply companies are set to get a 2.0% pay increase from 1 May following an improved pay offer from the employers (up from 1.25%). The agreement runs from 1 October 2020 to 30 April 2022 and includes a one-off payment of €400 gross for all employees who have been continuously employed in the sector since January 2020. Meanwhile, the FNV trade union reports positive initial talks in the energy network sector where negotiations were due to start on 29 April.
Services union ver.di has successfully fought off attempts by the Nord Residenz care company to shut down the works council. On 27 April, the regional labour court in Bremen in North West Germany ruled against the company’s attempts to dismiss the works council chair and her deputy, expel them from the works council and dissolve the works council itself. Nord Residenz is owned by the French multinational Orpea. Ver.di welcomed the many messages of solidarity support from trade unions across Europe and interventions by the state government and mayor of Bremen. Meanwhile, the union faces a major
The three main trade union confederations are pleased that, following the national day of action on 29 March 29, the government agreed to separate negotiations on welfare from those on pay. This was a key demand of the trade unions who agreed to approve the funds allocated to a range of payments from unemployment benefit to pensions. The budget of more than 700 million euros intended to maintain the lowest benefit rates should have been implemented last September, but the employers wanted to link it to an agreement on wages. The unions are disappointed that it took so long to arrive at an
Negotiations over pay are getting underway in the state and local government sectors with unions seeking to protect their members’ purchasing power and focusing on support for the lower paid. While unions agree that the system where the industrial sector sets the trend for pay bargaining is the right one, negotiations in the public sector need to address how pay trends have affected different occupations. This means there are arguments for a flat-rate increase that will benefit the lower paid, including the often undervalued groups like cleaners who have played a key role in coping with the
Members of the PCS civil service union at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) in Swansea, South Wales, have agreed to take another four days of strike action from 4-7 May. This follows the four-day action on 6-9 April that the union says was strongly supported. PCS is concerned that DVLA management have failed to take action to address safety concerns following very high levels of COVID-19 infections at the site where 4000 workers are employed. The union has also argued about the level of continuing risk involved from allowing 2000 workers to carry on working at the site.
Fifty-one public service unions are backing a further call on the government to engage in tripartite negotiations to tackle the gender pay gap. The recently concluded three-year public sector agreements include specific amounts to reduce the gap, as did the previous agreements in 2018. However, the unions argue that this is simply not enough to properly address the problem and that the economic constraints on the normal collective bargaining process prevent action on the scale necessary to make real progress. The 51 trade unions that represent well over half a million employees in
New ETUC research reveals that safety inspections have been cut by a fifth since 2010, falling from 2.2 million annual visits to 1.7 million. Numbers fell in at least 17 countries, including in Germany where 232,000 fewer visits were made in 2018 compared to 2010 and Portugal where checks were cut in half over the same period. Over the same period the number of labour inspectors across Europe fell by more than 1000. Portugal, Malta, Cyprus, Romania and Croatia all saw inspections fall by 35%, with the average fall across the EU at 18%. The ETUC argues that the major cut in labour inspections
The three public service federations – Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp and Uil-Pa – have set out the main aims for the new round of collective bargaining in central government. The federations are positive about the negotiations taking place in the framework of the pact for innovation in public services agreed recently with the government. The unions have a broad range of issues that they want to see addressed including: a revision of the staff classification and grading system; a review of pay and career progression; improved industrial relations and information and consultation; strengthening supplementary
The main public sector unions, including federations from CCOO and UGT, have called on the government to ensure that trade unions are fully involved in any discussions about reforming public administration. The government has announced that a group of experts from different fields would be established to analyse and formulate proposals for reform. The unions say that it unacceptable that any such work that will affect the working conditions of public employees in areas like digitalisation, for example, should be carried out without negotiation or union participation. The unions are now waiting