Firefighters’ unions, including Fp-Cgil-Vvf and Fns-Cisl have called a national demonstration in Rome on 14 September with urgent demands on pay, staffing, equipment and safety. With services stretched to the limit to tackle the increasing number of forest fires, flood and other emergencies, the unions argue that the number of active firefighters needs to be increased from 33000 to 40000 and professional and technical staff from 2000 to 5000. They are also concerned about inadequate and out-of-date equipment which not only hampers their response to emergencies but exposes firefighters to higher safety risks.
National protest by firefighters
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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.
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A national demonstration by firefighters took place on 14 January as they continued their campaign against unilateral action by the government to change their employment conditions. This follows the strike that ran from 19 December to 2 January (see previous epsucob@NEWS). The unions involved argue that the proposed changes undermine career development in the fire service and retirement rights. They are particularly angry that the government has attempted to introduce the changes without any consultation or negotiation.