2021 EPSU Collective Bargaining News July No.14
Trade unions in the electricity and waste sectors reported very high levels of support for their industrial action and protests on 30 June. The unions want article 177 of the procurement code to be deleted as they argue that it requires widespread outsourcing across their sectors, posing a major threat to jobs and working conditions. They say that if the article is not deleted there will be increasing fragmentation of these industries and it will undermine initiatives towards a circular economy and low carbon energy sector. Meanwhile, the three main confederations have also been mobilising to
Around 30000 mainly energy workers covered by the AVEU collective agreement will get a 3.8% pay rise over the next two years. Pay will rise by 2.3% from 1 June 2021 and by 1.5% from 1 November 2022 (trainees get two increases of EU 50). The agreement runs for 27 months until 31 August 2023. There will also be a corona payment of EUR 600 paid by January 2022 at the latest with a pro-rata amount for part-time employees and EUR 300 for apprentices. All union members are to get two days off to attend specialist events and training courses. The AVEU agreement covers around 130 companies in Eastern
On 5 July a group of 13 Romanian trade unionists arrived in Brussels after a four-day rolling protest from Bucharest over the low wages that force many of their fellow citizens to make similar journeys to find decent work. The “Caravan of Social Rights” stopped in Budapest, Vienna, Munich and Luxembourg along the way to stage protests outside Romanian embassies with the support of local trade unions. GDP per capita in Romania is now 72% of the EU average, but Romanian workers’ pay is just 28% of the EU average and the minimum wage is just €281 a month when the cost of living is €572 a month
The ROTAL state and local government employees’ union has signed an agreement with the ministry of finance on recommended principles for maintaining mental health in the work environment. The agreement recognises that a large proportion of civil servants are exposed to intellectual and psychological challenges in their daily work, and that maintaining mental health in the work environment is therefore a key occupational safety issue. The agreement will allow for a range of measures to be taken to mitigate psycho-social risk factors such as making work organization and the workplace suitable
The FNV trade union’s campaign for urgent action on workloads in childcare has been stepped up with some regional mobilisations cancelled in order to concentrate on a national strike on 8 July. The union is angry that calls for increased staffing and reduced numbers of children per worker have fallen on deaf ears and the employers have offered nothing to address the problem.
Health unions believe that a new agreement on flexible working will help create a better work-life balance for many employees and improve recruitment. However, they also underline the importance of increasing staffing levels to ensure that the agreement can be fully implemented. The new contractual terms will allow staff to: request flexible working from the start of their employment (removing the requirement to have six months’ service); make an unlimited number of applications for flexible working, instead of just one a year; submit applications without having to justify requests or provide
Municipal workers’ union Kommunal has welcomed new provisions in the crisis agreement negotiated with local and regional government employers. The agreement can be activated temporarily by the employers and was originally developed to deal with large forest fires but has been extended to any major crises such as floods, fires, electricity supply cuts or pandemics. The new agreement applies from 1 July and now limits how long an individual can be assigned to the agreement to ensure a proper recovery period. The main changes include: an employer may only activate the agreement if there is a need
The main trade unions in public administration have negotiated a new agreement to tackle the persistent problem of temporary employment. Earlier agreements have indicated a target rate of only 8% of temporary contracts in public administration but the level remains around 30%. The new agreement sets out a range of preventative measures and sanctions on public administration employers to contribute to the reduction of temporary contracts and sets a date of 31 December 2024 for the target to be reached. There will be clear and restrictive criteria for when temporary employment is possible and
Following the rejection of the mediation proposal last month, nurses have continued their strike action for higher pay. The DSR nursing union membership voted to reject the public sector deal negotiated earlier this year because it failed to address low pay in the sector. The union has been highlighting recent data to support their case including a fall in applications for nursing education to the lowest level since 2013. The union also found that 5% of nurses had left the profession last month because of low pay and overwork and that pay for overtime had cost employers over DKK 500 million in
Unions representing workers in health and social care are continuing to campaign to ensure that all employees get the EUR 500 corona-bonus that the government promised last month. Initially restricted to doctors and nurses, unions were successful in getting the payment extended to more occupations in health and social care but they still feel that this is unfair. They point out, for example, that those working for the disabled as well as cleaning and security staff are excluded despite facing similar risks and being integral to the team work necessary to tackle the pandemic.
As agreed during the last bargaining round in municipal services, a new collective agreement will apply from 1 September that will cover around 180000 health and social care staff employed by municipalities and joint municipal authorities. The Super and TEHY trade unions believe that in future the separate negotiations will enable them to address more effectively the needs of their members. The agreement – SOTE – takes over the provisions of the current KVTES municipal collective agreement and will run until February 2022. The change will also mean that staff in early years education will
The Fórsa public service union is urging its members to back the four-day week campaign by signing up to a global petition to encourage employers to pilot a four-day working week. The initiative seeks to identify and recruit employers to trial a shorter working week without loss of pay or productivity. The aim will be to reach out to employers identified with significant employee support and encourage them to join the global pilot in 2022. Participating employers will receive the support of experts from the four-day week organisation and university researchers from Harvard, Oxford and Boston