2021 EPSU Collective Bargaining Newsletter October No.20
Around 5000 workers in early years education joined a noisy demonstration outside the education ministry on 14 October. The protest covered both public and private sectors and was organised by the younion, vida and GPA trade unions, with the support of the ÖGB trade union confederation. The unions have been frustrated by the ministry’s refusal to invite them onto the advisory board that debates key issues affecting the sector. However, the protest had one immediate result in that the unions were invited to the next meeting. More broadly the unions used the demonstration to set out their key
The ver.di services union is celebrating a major victory in Berlin where members in the health sector have been on strike for 31 days. Workers at the Charité university hospital, Vivantes clinics and their joint subsidiary, Labor Berlin, have now suspended the action, pending negotiations over new collective agreements. The key points in the new deal at the Charité hospital include more than 700 additional nursing staff to be hired over the next three years and there will be new benchmarks for staffing for specific wards such as intensive care units, operating theatres and central emergency
The government’s initial offer of a pay increase of 0.9% for public service workers for 2022 is well below the demands of the main trade unions. Trade unions in the Frente Comum federation are calling for a minimum EUR 90 a month increase from 1 January 2022 with a minimum wage set at EUR 850. The SINTAP trade union has claimed an increase of 2.5%. The unions have a range of other demands relating to meal allowances, the pay structure and career development, arduous work, precarious employment, changes to the performance management system and working time.
The three public service federations – Fp Cgil, Cisl Fp and Uil Pa – organised two days of protests on 13 and 14 October in Naples, Milan and Rome. The mobilisation was about the crisis facing the justice sector with serious staffing shortages and excessive workloads, compounded by inadequate facilities and equipment. The unions argue that workers have been left out of the justice debate as politicians focus on legal reform while ignoring the situation facing the staff who are supposed to uphold and implement the law. Further mobilisations are planned if there is no response from the minister
A new collective agreement covering state workers is now subject to a vote by members. The FNV trade union is pleased with elements of the agreement which it says is better than the previous offer but argues that the final pay offer from the employers is too low. The main elements of the deal include: a 2% wage increase as of 1 July 2021; a one-off payment of €300 in December; a one-off and structural work-from-home allowance; the integration of cleaners into the pay structure and an extra amount for employees on irregular shifts. Union members will now have until the end of the month to
The JHL public services union has made clear that in the upcoming pay round it will be seeking pay increases for all the workers it represents across public and private sectors. It argues that moderate pay rises in the public services in the past have been part of a strategy to boost economic growth but now these workers need to benefit from that growth. JHL is also concerned to take further steps to close the gender pay gap and argues strongly that decent wage rises are needed to address staffing shortages.
Thousands of trade unionists took to the streets of Kiev again on 7 October in their long-running campaign against government proposals for labour reforms. The legal changes have been condemned by the international trade union movement and clearly contravene key International Labour Organisation conventions. The demonstration was also used to call for a range of measures including increases to the minimum wage and social benefits.
The Fagforbundet and Delta trade unions have negotiated pay increases for workers in early years education in the private sector. The pay rise is around 4% varying according to skill level with the minimum annual salary for assistants rising by NOK 13000 (€1325) to NOK 325800 (€33265). The trade unions and the PBL employers’ organisation also agreed to continue negotiations over pensions. In contrast, pensions are at the heart of a dispute in the culture sector with theatre, opera, ballet and orchestral workers on strike since 3 September. Temporary pension arrangements were agreed in 2016 but
The public service federations in the CCOO and UGT have been angered by the government’s decision to call a meeting at short notice on 5 October rather than initiate a proper process of collective bargaining. The unions argues that the government simply wanted union endorsement for next year’s budget without taking account of key trade union demands relating to the recovery of purchasing power, the 35-hour working week and elimination of the replacement rate that is hampering efforts to reduce temporary employment. The unions also reject the government pay offer of 2% for 2022 which they say
Two reports looking at union members’ views on digitalisation show that the lack of an employee perspective means that digital technology risks exacerbating existing problems at the workplace. An imbalance between the demands of new technology and the level of resources allocated to their introduction contributes to poor health and safety at work and high sick leave. The reports underline that employees need to be involved and also reveal that many union members do not believe that new digital tools meet the high expectations of increased efficiency and a better working environment. The
A national strike and local demonstrations by psychologists took place on 28 September following earlier action in June. The workers’ trade unions have a range of demands related to pay, jobs and the statutory/contractual position of psychologists and government proposals on their status, independence and payment for consultations. Psychologists have seen demands for their services increase significantly during the pandemic and the unions argue that this needs to be recognised in terms of more jobs, better employment conditions and similar pay improvements as awarded to other health and social
The ITUC global trade union confederation has noted the significance of the recent award of the Nobel prize for economics to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens. Their key research in the 1990s demonstrated that higher minimum wages do not mean fewer jobs, providing a powerful counter-argument to the often heard claims of employers and many governments about the negative effects of minimum wages. The ITUC argues that this prize is a serious indictment of many economists in that it has taken some 30 years for the facts to be given prominence over a damaging and groundless idea. It added