2021 EPSU Collective Bargaining News September No.19
On 28 September workers at seven university medical centres took strike action with only emergency services being maintained. This is the biggest ever action in academic hospitals which employ around 80000 workers. The FNV and CNV trade unions have rejected the employers’ latest offer which would have meant only a 1% pay rise and EUR 750 lump sum in a three-year agreement. They are calling for a 3% pay increase for each year and a minimum increase of EUR 75 a month as well as urgent action on workloads. The unions argue that excessive workloads are creating problems with increasing sickness
The public service federations – Fp Cgil, Cisl Fp, Uilpa and Uil Fpl – want to ensure that as the move from obligatory to voluntary remote working takes place, all workers are provided with the appropriate protection so that they can enjoy the potential benefits and flexibility of remote working while helping to improve service delivery. The unions argue that workers should be guaranteed the same pay as those in the workplace, along with normal working hours and the right to disconnect. The federations acknowledge that the situation may vary across the public services and so negotiations may
The younion and GÖD trade unions, representing workers across local, regional and national government and other public services, have written an open letter to the government calling for annual pay negotiations to start as soon as possible to ensure that their members see a pay increase from 1 January 2022. The unions point out that public service workers have been working under great pressure to maintain the quality and quantity of services throughout the pandemic. This has been made more challenging with the increasing numbers of workers retiring. The unions want to see a real increase in
An ETUC analysis shows that almost three million people low-paid workers across Europe can’t afford to heat their homes. The ETUC estimates that even before expected further increases in energy prices 15% of Europe’s working poor won’t be able to turn on the heating – equivalent to 2,713,578 people across Europe. The analysis also shows that the situation has deteriorated in 10 EU member states over the last decade. With the directive on adequate minimum wages now being discussed in the European Council and Parliament, the ETUC argues that energy price rises make strong EU action on wages even
A survey of over 19,000 staff in early years education carried out for the ver.di services union reveals widespread problems of understaffing and overwork. A clear majority of workers in day centres complained that they didn’t have enough time to devote to all the children in their care with almost 40% thinking about changing jobs and around 25% thinking about quitting. The situation in crèches and kindergartens is also challenging with three quarters of the interviewed professionals saying they had responsibility for too many children. Ver.di estimates that on average there is a shortage of
Consultations by health unions have revealed overwhelming majorities in favour of rejecting the 3% pay offer from the government that would cover National Health Service workers across England and Wales. Over eight in 10 and even nine in 10 in some unions were opposed to the deal with several unions also indicating that a majority of their members were in favour of some form of industrial action. The 3% offer is below the current inflation rate and well below the 12%-15% pay increases being demanded by some of the unions. With a staffing shortage of 100000, the unions are calling on the
On 14-15 September the first regional seminar of a two-year project on trade union rights took place with participants from across the Mediterranean region. The project is being run jointly by EPSU and the European federations representing police (EuroCOP) and military personnel (EUROMIL). There were contributions from experts from the ETUC and International Labour Organisation and an exchange on the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive which includes an article providing member states with the possibility of excluding a large group of public service workers from its
Unions representing healthcare workers have called for immediate talks with the Health Services Executive to discuss how to recognise healthcare workers’ efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. SIPTU, Fórsa, and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation raised the issue at the Labour Court, which acknowledged the extraordinary efforts of health staff and called on all parties to begin “effective engagement” to resolve the matter. In line with practice in several other European countries, the unions are looking for a bonus, pay addition or extra leave.
The European Parliament (EP) has backed proposals to prevent platform companies from forcing workers into false self-employment and denying them rights to minimum wages, holiday and sick pay, and a secure employment contract. In recent years platform companies have lost a string of court cases over false self-employment, with the latest in the Netherlands where judges ruled “the legal relationship between Uber and these drivers meets all the characteristics of an employment contract.” The EP report supports a rebuttable presumption of an employment relationship for platform companies and
An estimated 15000 people joined a demonstration in Brussels on 24 September calling for a change to the legislation that regulates the cross-sector negotiations in the private sector. The protest was organised by the FGTB/ABVV confederation which argues that the current rules impose an excessive restriction on the unions’ scope for negotiation. In the latest biennial negotiations, the law meant that there was only an additional 0.4% that could be added to the normal increase for inflation. The FGTB argues that the law is more focused on keeping Belgian companies competitive rather than taking
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.
After 10 weeks of action, the strike coordinated by the DSR nurses’ union was brought to an end by government intervention. This means that a recommendation by the conciliation commission will be imposed even though it had been rejected by a large majority of DSR members. The union argues that the government is deaf to the long-standing demands of nurses over the unfair pay structure in the public sector. Some nurses have continued to take unofficial action despite the imposition of a settlement and the threat of fines if they continue. The union says that the focus now shifts to the work of