2022 April EPSU Collective Bargaining Newsletter No.9
The Federation of Health Unions (CITUB) and Medical Federation (Podkrepa) have signed a new collective agreement with the ministry of health that will run until April 2024. There are substantial pay increases on monthly salaries for doctors and nurses which both the trade unions and government hope will attract new workers to the sector and encourage them to remain in the country. Doctors will get an increase of BGN 800 (€400) with BGN 550 (€280) for health professionals and BGN 200 (€100) for nurses. Minimum salaries will now be BGN 1900 (€970) for specialist doctors, BGN 1500 (€765) for
On 26 April, at the 14th session of negotiations between public service unions, including the HSSMS-MT nurses’ union and SDLSN public administration union, and the government, it was confirmed that the general public sector pay increase will be 4% backdated to 1 April. This is a positive outcome for the trade unions as the government had been pushing for a 2% rise from 1 May and then a further 2% later in the year. The meeting was joined by six ministers along with the prime minister. The unions also secured a commitment to further negotiations on pay in September and an increase in the
EPSU and industriAll Europe have sent a joint letter of protest to bosses at the Achema chemicals plant in Lithuania. They have called on the management to end anti-union activity and return to the negotiating table to resolve a dispute over pay and a new collective agreement. The local union, part of the LPPSF union affiliated to both EPSU and industriAll, took strike action in February – the first private sector strike in Lithuania for 30 years – but had to suspend the action when the government declared a state of emergency because of the war in Ukraine.
EPSU has joined the ETUC and ITUC in condemning the detention of several leaders of independent trade unions and calling for their immediate release. Those detained include Aleksandr Yarashuk, president of the ITUC-affiliated BKDP; BKDP vice president Sergey Antusevich; Aleksandr Bukhvostov, president of the Free Trade Union of Metalworkers SPM; and Nikolay Sharakh, president of the Free Trade Union of Belarus SPB. Their homes and offices have also been searched. These are the latest in a long line of attacks on the BKDP and its member unions. Labourstart is coordinating a protest campaign.
Mediation continues to try to resolve the dispute in the municipal sector where unions JHL and Jyty have planned for more strike action from 3 May if mediation fails to deliver a positive result. As of 28 April, the chair of the conciliation committee said that the two side were still far apart on pay and pay development. Meanwhile the SuPer and Tehy health unions cancelled planned strike action that was due to take place from 20 April, although they are continuing their work-to-rule. The two unions say that they were left with no alternative when the government threatened to introduce
On 20 April, the STAL local government union and other public service unions in the Frente Comum delivered their common pay claim to the government with a central demand of a €90 pay increase. Highlighting the current increase in inflation the unions underlined how crucial it was to protect workers’ purchasing power and begin to restore the 15% fall in real pay since 2009. The unions have a range of other long-standing demands relating to the pay structure and career development. Meanwhile the SINTAP public service union met with the government and also focused on the loss of purchasing power
Services union ver.di has negotiated a collective agreement with the AWO non-profit care provider in Augsburg in Bavaria that includes a 35-hour week without loss of pay for nurses and other workers in the social and educational services provided by the organisation. The union sees this as setting an important example for the rest of the care sector. AWO said it wanted to work with the union to provide concrete solutions to address stressful work and to make care jobs more attractive by improving working conditions. The collective agreement provides for a two-hour reduction in weekly working
Public services union Fórsa has welcome the government’s decision to accept an independent body’s recommendation for working time to be restored to pre-austerity levels for virtually all public servants from 1 July 2022. The additional working hours were imposed in July 2013, increasing the standard working time of civil and public servants to 39 hours for those who previously worked between 35 and 37 hours, and to 37 hours for those who previously worked 35 hours or less. The hours of those working 39 hours or more per week were unchanged. The independent body said it had taken account of the
Members of the FNV, NU’91 and other unions have endorsed the new collective agreement covering around 190000 workers in disability care that is backdated and runs from 1 October 2021 to 31 January 2024. There is a 2.2% pay rise as from 1 May 2022 but with an €85 minimum increase and with also a commitment to a minimum hourly rate of €13.00. This means a 5% increase for the lowest paid. On 1 May 2023 there will be a further increase of 3.2%. The agreement also provides for hours reductions for older workers to encourage them to stay at work longer and measures to address the needs of women
The three trade union confederations – ACV/CSC, ABVV/FGTB, and ACLVB/CGLSB are continuing their campaigns around pay and their calls to reform the law on salaries that imposes limits on the pay increases that trade unions can negotiate. The confederations are highlighting the impact of surging inflation on workers and are putting pressure on the employers and government to address the problem, deliver fair pay and revise the law that sets the wage norm. A series of actions were organised around the country on 22 April and a national demonstration is planned for 20 June.
The Kommunal public services union decided to postpone the industrial action it had planned for 22 April to allow more time for mediation in its dispute with the Church of Sweden's employers' organization (SKAO). If mediation fails, then the action – an overtime ban and block on new employment and recruitment – will now begin on 29 April, along with strike action by selected workers already planned for that date. The union wants to ensure that the transition agreement negotiated with SKAO is as good as in the rest of the labour market and doesn’t allow for any deterioration in wages and
The Economic Policy Institute in the US has just published research that reveals the impact of declining union density and collective bargaining on wages. It finds, for example, that falling union membership translates to a loss of $1.56 (€1.47) per hour worked for the average worker, the equivalent of $3,250 (€3,070) for a full-time, full-year worker. Meanwhile, the erosion of collective bargaining lowered the median hourly wage also by $1.56 (€1.47), a 7.9% decline (0.2% annually), from 1979 to 2017. An analysis of wage distribution found that declining unionisation had widened inequality