The main unions in residential care in the Galicia region, UGT, CC.OO. and CIG, have formed a common front to mobilise and put pressure on private nursing home companies, which they accuse of blocking the negotiation of a new collective agreement to replace the one that expired at the end of 2019. The series of mobilizations will end on 19 May with a demonstration outside San Lázaro residence in the Galician capital, run by the DomusVi French care multinational. The unions point out that pay scales mean that effectively some jobs are set below the minimum wage with pay for kitchen assistants and cleaning staff only €946 gross per month, while nursing assistants are on €1,031 and nurses on €1,263 for nurses. The unions argue that it is no surprise there are staff shortages when pay is so low and the rates are €300-400 less than the public sector. They are also challenging the idea that pay increases should be limited to inflation or economic growth, arguing that such essential jobs should not be restricted to business indices.
Private care unions mobilise to get new collective agreement
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Some public service federations will be joining their private sector colleagues in a national demonstration on 5 October calling for an increase in salaries and the minimum wage. The unions note that private company profits are surging along with dividends to shareholders while workers are facing higher prices, not least for energy. In the public sector, workers are facing another year of a freeze on the index that determines salary levels with the government again having to adjust the lowest salary levels just to ensure that they don’t fall below the minimum wage.
The trade unions representing care workers - FeSP-UGT and CCOO-Sanidad - are planning two days of mobilisation on 30 October and 7 November to put pressure on the two employer organisations (CEOE and CEPYME) to negotiate on pay. The union federations are angry that the employers have failed to negotiate the introduction of a EUR 1000 minimum wage (14 payments) for the sector even though it had been proposed in the last collective agreement. The unions put forward a proposal for reaching the level in stages up to 2021 but the employers failed to respond.
The ZSSS trade union confederation and Pergam public service federation have called a national demonstration in Ljubljana for 5 December with demands to protect and respect collective agreements, for higher pay and an increase in the minimum wage. In the meantime, negotiations continue over pay in the public sector. Three public sector unions look to have settled with the government but as many as 20 other unions are still considering the latest offer. If negotiations break down then the unions are expected to take strike action on 5 December.