2022 April EPSU Collective Bargaining Newsletter No.8
The Tehy and SuPer nurses’ unions have confirmed the dates for the second period of industrial action following the first set of strikes launched on 1 April. The next stage will begin on 20 April and end on 4 May and will affect specialised medical care in 13 hospital districts, with approximately 35,000 nurses on strike. The postponement is to allow the Conciliation Committee sufficient time for mediation. The severe shortage of nurses in areas like elderly care means that this sector will be excluded from the strike as the unions point out that the staffing levels regulated by law are often
Following a long campaign and strike action in March, the FNV trade union, along with CNV and FBZ, has negotiated a new agreement covering the 30,000 workers in youth care. This includes a wage increase of 8% percent over three years and a one-off amount of 250 euros. A 2% pay rise will be backdated to January 2021 and 3% applied this year with a further 3% in 2023. There will also be scope for employees to choose when and where they work, while the mileage allowance for travel during work goes up by around a third. There are also important provisions to tackle excessive workloads with
Public services union Fórsa has welcomed a new framework agreed between unions and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform allowing civil servants to apply to work “blended” arrangements – combining home/remote work with normal working. Workers whose requests are denied have the right to a review with the aim to resolve the issues that led to the refusal. The framework places a responsibility on managers to ensure a “fair and effective” system with strong supports, staff development, communications, and effective performance management. And it says there can be no change to a worker’s
Public services union ver.di organised a nationwide day of action on 6 April for employees in day-care centres, and workers providing child, youth and disability care in non-profit organisations, including churches and private employers. Various initiatives were taken including lunchtime demonstrations and photo campaigns. The aim was to underline the importance of securing better pay and conditions for workers across the sector, making work more attractive and tackling staff shortages. While the current negotiations concern the 330,000 workers directly employed by the public sector, the
On 5 April the European Parliament (EP) voted in favour of a report on the gender pay transparency directive that includes important improvements to the European Commission’s draft proposal. There will be provisions on the protection of trade union rights for women workers, ensuring they can bargain collectively for equal pay; measures to deliver on the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and a ban on pay secrecy clauses. The ETUC thanked the rapporteurs for their work and called for the swift adoption of the improved directive by the Commission and Council. ETUC Deputy General
The HSSMS-MT nurses’ union reports that public sector unions are considering industrial action in response to the government’s proposal to increase pay by only 2% from 1 April. The latest negotiations, involving 11 public sector unions, took place on 8 April and the union negotiating committee unanimously rejected the government’s offer and continued to insist on a 4% base increase from 1 April and the resumption of negotiations at the end of May on a base increase in the second part of the year, depending on the evolution of inflation, the movement of other wages in the country and the
The Kommunal and Vision public service unions are involved in mediation over a dispute with the Swedish church. The unions are concerned that the church has failed to negotiate a transition agreement in line with many other employers, following recent legislative changes. Instead the church appears to want to reduce employment conditions as a way to compensate for delivering the new transition agreement. Kommunal has announced that it will initiate a dispute on 22 April if there is no agreement, starting with industrial action and building to potential strike action on 27 April.
The DSR nurses’ union reports on the findings of a new survey by the Danish Nursing Council (DNC) that exposes the impact of staff shortages on services. The findings reveal that virtually all respondents (97%) said that they had experienced too few nurses at work in the past month, with 82% of these saying it had impaired patient safety. The DNC study says that the shortage of nurses has several consequences, including the closure of beds and a negative impact on patients' conditions. About a third had experienced patients being sent home or transferred before it was professionally sound.
The VPOD public services union supported demonstrations in more than 25 towns and cities across the country on 9 April calling for action on working time. The protests focused on the potential environmental benefits of shorter working time along with the positive outcomes in terms of gender equality and workers’ rights. VPOD noted that progress on working time reduction has been limited with average working in Switzerland still closed to 42 hours a week. The union underlined the importance of improving work-life balance and the prospects of having a fairer share of domestic responsibilities if
The GMB and Unite trade unions have been mobilising their members in the waste sector in a series of disputes over pay that have led to strike action or the threat of strike action. The longest-running dispute, which began in January, is in Coventry in the West Midlands where the union is currently pursuing a tribunal case against the local authority over victimisation of a trade union activist. Workers in Northampton in the East Midlands employed by Veolia have voted for strike action on 27 April while a vote for action was backed by a 90% majority in Manchester, in a dispute with the Biffa
EPSU organised an online working group on 5 April to bring affiliates up-to-date with developments on the Adequate Minimum Wages Directive and to provide them with background on the 4-day week campaign. Lorenzo Repetti, advisor at the ETUC, indicated some of the key issues that were being covered in the trialogue negotiations on the Directive between the European Commission, Council and Parliament. He noted that some key provisions to strengthen collective bargaining that were supported by the ETUC were being challenged by the Council. Lorenzo reported on positive developments in relation to
The STAL local government union is planning a series of actions and events from 25 April to 1 May to highlight its key demands on improvements to pay and conditions. The unions says that local and regional government workers have seen their wages frozen and their careers undermined over the past 13 years and now they see their purchasing power radically reduced in recent months. Inflation in March hit 5.3%, contrasting with the 0.9% wage increase proposed by the government for this year. STAL is calling for a €90 increase for all workers and increase in the national minimum wage to €850. It