2022 October EPSU Collective Bargaining Newsletter No.21
The ETUC coordinated a demonstration in Strasbourg on 5 October followed by a meeting with MEPs to highlight the catastrophic consequences of huge price increases on working people and their families. The confederation is calling for decisive action from the EU and national governments including increased wages and income support, a tax on profits and a cap on prices, all covered in a six-point plan. The ETUC wants to see support for collective bargaining, increases to minimum wages and targeted emergency payments for low-paid people struggling to afford their energy bills, along with a ban on
The trade union confederations of the Czech and Slovak Republics – CMKOS and KOZ – have called national demonstrations on 8 October to call for action to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. They argue that their respective governments need to undertake urgent measures to support households in the face of soaring inflation and particularly high energy costs. They want to see increases in wages in general and particularly minimum wages and assurance that government budgets will include provisions to cover pay rises in public services.
The Tehy and SuPer trade unions have agreed to a mediated settlement to their long-running dispute with municipal employers that includes pay developments over five years, COVID compensation payments and other improvements to working conditions. The average salary in the health and social services sector will increase by at least 17.3% over five years, with an increase of 15.3% in the first three years. There will be a separate one-off payment of €600 for those who involved in treating COVID patients. The unions say that a practical nurse will see their salary rise from the current €2,255 to
Public service federations, including FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT, have welcomed a new three-year agreement that could deliver pay increases of more than 9% by the end of 2024. Following government imposed pay rises of only 0.9% in 2021 and initially only 2% in 2022, unions pushed the government to open negotiations and respond to the cost-of-living crisis. There will now be an additional 1.5% increase in 2022 backdated to January. In 2023 there will be an increase of 2.5% but two further increases of 0.5% will follow depending on the level of inflation and economic output. There will also be a 2.0%
Following their action in July, employees of the Ministry of Defence mobilised again on 28 September to voice their concerns over understaffing and the threat of privatisation. The public service federations – FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-PA – coordinated the action which called for an emergency recruitment plan and measures to address concerns about restructuring, changes to pay tables, implementation of the collective agreement, agile work (form of telework) and proper consultations with and participation of the trade unions.
A survey by the health and services union ver.di has revealed that the already high burden on employees in the emergency medical service has increased significantly since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Around 7,000 workers replied to the questionnaire with 39% saying they would change professions immediately if they had the opportunity. There are serious problems with working hours, work intensity, physical and psychological stress and risk of physical assaults. Almost all respondents reported problems balancing work and private life. Staff shortages mean that 61% of employees are (very)
The SZSVS health union reports that a new agreement covering the public sector is close to being finalised with a 4.5% pay increase due from 1 October this year. There will also be increases to the lunch allowances and some starting salaries will be moved up one pay bracket from April 2023. There will also be additional compensation ranging from €100 to €300 for the lower paid. However, several matters affecting different pay categories of health workers, that prompted a strike earlier this year, remain unresolved and firefighters are also concerned to see some occupations move up the pay
The vpod/ssp public services union is mobilising its members around the country to call for higher pay in response to the cost-of-living crisis. In Fribourg the demand will be for a 4% pay increase in response to the regional government’s proposed 2.3% offer. The main demand in the Vaud region will be for a special payment of CHF 100 (€103) for all employees to to compensate for the increase in energy costs. In Geneva, the vpod region is calling for a 5% increase from 1 January 2023 while in Neuchâtel the claim is for 4%-5% percent while in the Jura region the target is 3%. There has been a
The OSZSP health workers’ union and LOK-SČL doctors’ union organised a joint press conference on 29 September in response to the government’s intention not to increase health workers’ pay in 2023. The unions underlined the sacrifices that workers had made during the pandemic and that the government’s failure to deliver improved pay would create further problems in the recruitment and retention of staff. The unions are unconvinced by a government plan to offer bonuses instead of higher pay scales and they are calling for a 15% increase to pay rates. They also argue that the government had
The FNV and CNV trade unions have reacted angrily to government proposals to offer health workers a one-off payment of €15000 as compensation for contracting Long COVID. The unions are unhappy that it has taken so long – over two and a half years – for the government to come up with a proposal and that the offer, announced without consultation with the trade unions, now has to be confirmed by the council of state.
The younion and GÖD public sector trade unions have written to the government calling for the annual pay negotiations to start. The unions want the government to recognise the enormous efforts made by their members during the pandemic and the continuing challenges to maintain services in the face of staffing shortages which are likely to worsen as large numbers of workers reach retirement age. The unions are calling for a sustainable pay rise that addresses the cost-of-living crisis. Meanwhile, the vida private services union has launched its pay claim covering workers in private hospital
Following a long-running campaign, the ETUC has welcomed the adoption of new guidelines by the European Commission which make clear EU competition law does not stand in the way of solo self-employed workers engaging in collective bargaining. Self-employed workers make up around a tenth of the European workforce but research commissioned by the ETUC found that some form of (limited) access to collective bargaining for self-employed workers existed in only 10 EU countries. The ETUC says that removing this legal uncertainty will benefit many of the more than 24 million self-employed and freelance