2022 May EPSU Collective Bargaining Newsletter No.10
Mixed reaction to conciliation in local government and health
The Super and Tehy health unions have firmly rejected the settlement proposed by the conciliation committee in the current dispute in local government and health. Meanwhile, the JHL and Jyty municipal services union have endorsed the proposal. The health unions argue that the pay increases on offer are inadequate and simply don’t address the urgent staffing problems in health and social care. The unions are now considering a mass resignation to put pressure on health employers to negotiate a better deal. For local government workers, the three-year pay deal should deliver pay increases of 1.9%
Union steps up action in social and educational services
The ver.di services union has planned a series of strikes and protests in the week beginning 9 May to put pressure on the VKA local government employers’ organisation in advance of the third round of collective bargaining covering over 300,000 workers in social and educational services. Around 30000 workers in the sector were involved in action on 2, 4 and 5 May but the week 9-13 May will see many more workers in involved across the country. The union is extremely disappointed that the employers failed to come up with a concrete offer to improve pay and conditions in the first two bargaining
Unions sign three-year agreement covering central government
The public service federations – Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp and Uil-Pa – have negotiated a three-year agreement covering the period 2018-21 that will see pay rise by between 4.2% and 5.6% with the lower pay scales getting the higher increases. The trade unions have also welcomed changes to the occupational classification system and pay structure, strengthening of relations with trade unions, changes to leave arrangements to help victims of gender-based violence and new rules on smart work and telework.
Unions launch joint campaign over pay in community and health services
The SIPTU, Fórsa and INMO trade unions organised a joint national demonstration in Dublin on 3 May to highlight the need for better pay and proper respect for workers in the non-profit community and health services (Section 39) sector. More than 400 protesters attended the rally. The sector provides many services equivalent to those provided directly by the public sector and the unions want to see the implementation of a fair funding model that will address the pay and conditions of all workers in the sector and disparities with the public sector. The unions are launching a national campaign
Unions welcome settlement in Church of Sweden dispute
Several unions, including Kommunal, Vision, ASSR and Vårdförbundet, have welcomed the resolution of a dispute with Church of Sweden over a transition agreement. The dispute, which involved some targeted industrial action, meant that the pay rise and general collective agreement for 2022-23 were postponed but are now being implemented as the unions finalise the details of the agreement covering job transitions with important provisions on careers and training.
Central government negotiations set to begin
The collective agreement covering central government workers expired at the end of March and the trade unions, including the FNV, and government are about to start negotiations over a new agreement. On the employers’ side there is a commitment to discuss pay for civil servants on the lower pay scales, the design of leave arrangements, rosters and workplace measures to address climate change. On the union side the priority will be purchasing power and salaries, along with several other issues including provisions on early retirement and action to reduce workloads.
Strike threat secures pay negotiations
At the end of April the OSSOO state workers’ union issued a strike threat in order to put pressure on the government to negotiate on pay for workers in the Czech labour office. The union said that workers were facing heavily increased workloads as they were dealing with processing of refugees from Ukraine as well as compensation payments to cover for increased energy costs. Strike action was due to take place at the beginning of May but the government agreed to negotiations that are due to start on 25 May.
Public service federations call for pay negotiations
The public service federations within the CCOO confederation have denounced the lack of negotiation of the general state budgets for 2022. They have also criticised the 2% increase imposed on public service workers for 2022 as completely insufficient. The federations have called for negotiations to start on a new multi-year salary agreement that guarantees the maintenance of purchasing power. The last three-year agreement (2018-2020) led to some progress towards restoring pay after the cuts and freezes of the austerity years. Along with pay the unions want to see other urgent measures
Waste workers continue fight for better pay and other rights
In a long-running and bitter dispute over pay in Coventry, the Unite trade union has just discovered that the local authority has agreed a 12% pay increase for the workers in the private company that is being used to try to break the strike. Meanwhile, Unite members at Rugby Borough Council began strike action on 26 April to get the local authority back to the negotiating table. In Croydon, South London, Unite members employed by Veolia are being balloted for industrial action following the rejection of a 2.5% pay offer. Members of Unite and the GMB, in Manchester called off their action when
Report highlights how collective bargaining can advance equality
The International Labour Organisation has published a report that shows that the higher the coverage of employees by collective agreements, the lower the wage differences are. Social Dialogue Report 2022: Collective bargaining for an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery is based on a review of collective agreements and practices in 80 countries and the legal and regulatory frameworks in 125 countries. It also provides evidence that collective bargaining can contribute to narrowing the gender pay gap with over half (59 per cent) the agreements reviewed in the study reflecting a joint
Strike threat in state sector if mediation doesn’t deliver
The trade unions in the state sector represented by Lo Stat, Unio and YS Stat broke off negotiations at the end of April and are waiting to see what mediation delivers on 23 May. The three groups of unions want to see action to compensate for recent pay trends where pay in the state sector has not kept pace with developments in the private sector. LO Stat unions have already set out plans for industrial action if mediation fails to deliver. Along with a general pay increase they also want to see action to reduce gender pay inequality and are concerned that the state sector’s preference for
National mobilisation in unions’ “health offensive” campaign
Public and private sector health trade unions – younion, GÖD, vida and GPA – are continuing their “health offensive” campaign with rallies across the country on 12 May. The unions, supported by the ÖGB trade union confederation, chamber of workers and Vienna chamber of doctors are calling for major reforms of the health system and urgent measures to improve pay and conditions. The unions argue that better pay and conditions are essential to tackle the staffing shortages that are posing a threat to services and are creating excessive workloads for health workers.