The vpod/ssp public services union is continuing to sound the alarm over urgent staff shortages in healthcare. It says that action is needed to retain staff as well as recruit new workers and that initiatives to shorten the working week can help. Reductions to weekly working hours have been introduced or are being planned in the Wetzikon and Felix Platter hospitals along with the Siloah and Lindenhof health groups. Meanwhile, vpod/ssp reports that Aargau hospitals have significantly increased their allowances for weekend and holiday shifts. The union is also continuing to press employers to ensure that all time required to change in and out of uniforms is counted as paid working time with legal action planned at the Solothurn Cantonal Hospital and protest action at the Geneva University Hospital HUG. In the Fribourg cantonal hospital of Fribourg, specialists in anaesthesia are threatening strike action in September if their wages are not significantly increased.
Union looks to shorter hours and better pay to address staff shortages
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The main public sector unions in the CCOO and UGT confederations are calling on the government to improve its pay offer for the next three years. The current offer provides a guarantee for a 5.34% increase (1.5% in 2018, 1.75% in 2019 and 2.0% in 2020). However, this could reach 8% overall if target growth in economic output (GDP) is reached, along with a further target for deficit reduction. The unions want to see guaranteed increases that would begin to make up for the significant loss of purchasing power of public sector workers. The unions also want to see progress on working hours and an
(April 2017) The BSRB public services union is promoting an pilot project on shorter weekly working time. Four workplaces, including police, revenue and immigration services have been selected to participate to examine whether shortening the work week will bring mutual benefit to employees and the employer. The pilot will last one year from 1 April and the hours worked by employees will be reduced from 40 to 36 per week without wage cuts to come. The project will examine the impact on quality and efficiency and staff morale and well being.
Reducing working time has emerged as a key issue for public services union Forsa. As part of another element of the austerity package agreed in 2013, lower and middle-earning civil servants saw their working time increase by 2.5 hours a week without any increase in pay. At the same time higher earners (those on over EUR 65000 a year) took a pay cut. However, that pay cut was restored by January 2018 and so Forsa is now arguing that it is only fair that lower and middle-earning civil servants, mostly women, should return to their pre-crisis working hours. Taking account of the hours increase