2021 EPSU Collective Bargaining News February No.3
The government has imposed compulsory arbitration in a dispute between unions representing health and care staff in the private and non-profit sector and the NHO employers’ organisation. The unions were taking strike action in support of their demand for higher pay rates that would bring pay in line with comparable collective agreements in health and care. The NHO was refusing to negotiate and then the national health board intervened claiming that the dispute was posing a danger to life and health. Each side will now present evidence to an independent wages board whose decision will then be
The three main trade union confederations have jointly refused to continue negotiations over the next two-year pay deal for the private sector. They argue that the pay formula that guides the negotiations leaves only 0.4% as a basis for salary increases. The unions point out that this would mean only a EUR 6.00 gross increase on the minimum wage and just EUR 9.00 for many jobs deemed to be essential during the pandemic. The unions say that the formula, set in 1996 and revised in 2017, is inappropriate for the current situation and fails to take account of the economic impact of the virus.
The Kommunal trade union has signed a new two-year agreement covering personal care assistants with the private care provider section of the Almega employers’ organisation. The agreement includes a 2.8% increase in the minimum wage from 1 February 2021 (to SEK 114.40 (EUR 11.30 an hour) and a further 2.3% on 1 July 2022 (to SEK 117.03 (EUR 11.56 an hour). However, pay rates in general will be set in local negotiations. The agreement sets the space for the negotiations but pay for individual workers will vary according to the local negotiations. The agreement includes several other provisions
The SIPTU trade union has just published findings from a survey of early years professionals showing that 43% of childcare workers are actively seeking another job due to low pay levels in the sector. The findings also show that 90% of workers struggle to make ends meet, 77% have no work sick pay scheme and just 10% receive paid maternity leave from their employer. More than seven in 10 workers have found dealing with COVID stressful while just over nine in 10 would consider leaving the profession in the next five years if there are no improvements in pay and conditions.
Around 35000 energy workers are getting a 2.3% pay increase backdated to 1 January. This is part of a 27-month agreement that runs until 31 March 2023 with a second pay rise of 1.5% in June 2022. Apprentices will get increases of EUR 50 in 2021 and EUR 45 next year. In March this year employees will get a EUR 1000 on-off payment (EUR 600 for apprentices) in recognition of their work during the pandemic. The agreement also commits employers to offer jobs to all apprentices who pass their training at least until 2024. The agreement covers various companies in the EON and TenneT groups and was
After four rounds of bargaining the FNV trade union is still waiting for a concrete offer from the employers in the negotiations covering University Medical Centres. The union has insisted that the offer should include a pay increase for all workers, improvements to the allowance for irregular work, an objective and transparent job evaluation scheme and measures related to pensions and workloads. The FNV is encouraging its members to continue their photo action highlighting the pressure that many workers have been under during the pandemic. Meanwhile, negotiations are also underway in central
Following mobilisations on 14 and 19 January in protest at restructuring plans affecting the ENGIE and EDF energy companies, trade unions have set dates for further action in February. The four energy unions are planning joint mobilisations on 4, 10 and 11 February to coincide with key debates in parliament. Strike action is planned for the 10th when the head of EDF will be taking part in parliamentary hearing. The unions have also been lobbying MPs, 83 of whom have joined with the unions in sending a letter to the government protesting against the EDF “Hercule” restructuring project.
Public sector trade union federations have written to the new minister for public services to initiate negotiations for a new agreement covering public sector workers. They argue that there is a range of new and long-standing issues that need to be addressed not least increasing the workforce, creating job stability and reducing the level of temporary employment. There are also the questions of recovering lost purchasing power, improving working conditions and career and professional classification. More and better training, implementing equality plans and occupational health are among the
Public service unions have raised major concerns about the SIADAP performance management system. They reject the use of quotas and call for changes to ensure that workers have a faster and more transparent process of career development. Some unions have launched a campaign and petition calling for a total renegotiation of the system that they argue is bureaucratic and subjective. Others are looking for swift changes to the system and an end to quotas but are angry that the government has stated it will maintain quotas despite having agreed to meet unions to negotiate over SIADAP.
An independent review of the system of adult social care in Scotland has endorsed action on fair pay and called for the establishment of sector collective bargaining. The review has been welcomed by public services union UNISON which points out that the review highlights the structural challenges in the social care sector that inhibit workers ability to collectively bargain for improved pay and conditions. The union underlines the importance of better training, standards, pay and fair working conditions for improving the quality of care and as a boost to the economy.
For the first time in 40 years trade unions and employers have negotiated a cross-sector collective agreement. The agreement includes rules for tests for COVID-19 and for mask-wearing at work. It says that employees who require a negative test for their work can have this arranged during working hours or the time taken for any test carried out before or after work will be counted as working time. The agreement also guarantees protection – no dismissal or detriment – where employees test positive for the virus. Employees who are obliged to wear masks at work are entitled to a 10-minute break
The HSSMS-MT nurses’ and technicians’ trade union is supporting over 1000 of its members in legal claims to secure compensation for underpaid overtime. The issue dates back to 2016 since when overtime pay rates for many workers failed to take account of certain allowances. The union has invited the health ministry to negotiate over the issue and to avoid the time and cost of the legal process but the court cases continue. It is estimated that the total amount of underpaid overtime is HRK 614 million, around EUR 80 million.