The collective agreement on pay and working time in emergencies is being applied across several regions in response to the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus. The agreement was negotiated across the public services in 2019 in response to what at the time were the demands placed on fire and rescue services by forest fires. It covers, among other things, the increase of regular working hours to a maximum of 48 hours per week and provides for additional payments with special emergency overtime permitted on top of regular working hours. The agreement also enables the hiring and lending of staff between affected municipalities or regions. Following the start of the pandemic it was first implemented in the Stockholm region in April last year (EPSU Collective Bargaining News, April 2020, No.8).
Emergency agreement implemented across several regions
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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
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.