2023 February EPSU Collective Bargaining Newsletter No.4
With the UK government still refusing to negotiate on pay, the RCN nursing union is planning its biggest strike action so far for 48 hours from the morning of 1 March to the morning of 3 March. It will impact 128 NHS employers across England and involve all members in workplaces with a mandate to strike. This follows the two days of strikes on 6-7 February which were already a step up from the level of action in December. In the same week ambulance workers also maintained their campaign over pay with action spread over several days involving UNISON, Unite and the GMB and with more areas voting
The FNV is taking further action in support of its demand for a 12% pay rise in the municipalities sector. A six-day strike by refuse collection staff in Rotterdam was set to begin on 15 February and a national demonstration was organised in Utrecht. The union has rejected as wholly inadequate an offer from the employers that would have delivered only 5% in February 2023 and 3% in April 2024. Meanwhile, action may follow in the hospitals sector if the NVZ employers’ organisation fails to meet a deadline to come up with a better pay offer. The FNV and NU’91 trade unions are calling for a pay
The vida trade union organised a warning strike in 25 facilities across the country in support of its demands for higher pay for the 10,000 workers employed in the private hospital sector. The union is demanding a pay rise above inflation and a monthly minimum salary of €2000 and argues strongly that it is crucial to improve the pay and conditions for workers to make the sector more attractive and tackle staff shortages and overwork. Meanwhile, the GPA trade union has negotiated a new collective agreement in the electricity sector which delivers pay rises of 8.6%-9.6% along with increases in
All the main trade union confederations – including CGT, CFDT, FO, UNSA and CFE-CGC – are maintaining their campaigns of strikes and protests against the government’s pension reforms and its key proposal to increase the pension age from 62 to 64. The fifth day of action was due to take place on 16 February with a sixth planned for 7 March and the threat of all-out strike action. The joint trade union and student movement campaign sent a message to all MPs arguing that they should reject the plans, challenging all the government’s main arguments about the need for reform and in particular the
A one-day strike by ver.di members at airports around the country took place on 17 February partly in support of the negotiations in federal and municipal government and partly in support of separate negotiations in ground handling services and aviation security. On 13 February, ver.di members around the country submitted early years education plans to local archives and museums as a gesture to highlight that they are currently impossible to implement. The union estimates that childcare services currently lack of 170,000 trained staff. Ver.di has also negotiated an agreement on staffing at the
The SPGS firefighters’ union organised a rally on 16 February in protest at proposed changes to the public sector pay system that would adversely affect its members. A significant compression of the pay structure would leave firefighters in the bottom tenth of the grades rather than the top third as now. There are also concerns about the suspension of promotion and performance bonuses. The SPGS argues that firefighters are not being treated on an equal basis in relation to other, comparable jobs or professional groups.
Public service federations in the CCOO, FeSP-UGT along with ELA and other trade unions coordinated strike action across public services in the Navarra region on 15 February. The unions are calling for increased funding for regional government to guarantee quality, universal and free public services for all. They are also seeking an increase in pay to begin to recoup the 20% loss in purchasing power over the past decade. Other demands include a commitment by the regional authority to reach the long-standing target of having only 8% of all workers on temporary contracts as well as initiatives on
Over 400 social care workers in Legnica in south west Poland could begin strike action on 27 February if their pay demands are not met. Their union, NSZZ "Solidarność", points out that over half the workers are on the minimum wage and this is set to rise to three-quarters if the employers don’t respond to the call for pay increases. The union says that this is a fight not just about pay but for the dignity of the profession. Meanwhile, water workers in Wielkopolska in central west Poland – members of the NSZZ "Solidarność" and Forum trade unions – are involved in protests over pricing and
The STAL trade union and other federations in the CGPT-IN confederation took part in strikes and protests on 9 February in support of their claims for increased pay and other improvements to working conditions. For STAL this was part of series of actions in the first half of February. The SEP nurses organisation also joined the action on the 9th which fell in the middle of a series of strikes being carried out by the union to support its demands for improvements to career development in the health service.
Federations in the CGIL, CISL and UIL confederations are maintaining their protests against the decision by the ANASTE employers’ organisation to sign a collective agreement with unrepresentative trade unions. ANASTE brings together private sector residential care companies that employ around 20,000 workers. CGIL, CISL and UIL argue that the three-year collective agreement signed with the unrepresentative unions is weak in a number of aspects, not least the level of the pay increase – well below inflation – and provisions related to sick pay and leave. The CGIL, CISL and UIL trade unions had
Trade unions across all sectors are backing protest action against the proposal by the government to abolish a longstanding public holiday – the great prayer day that falls on the first Friday after Easter. Over 50,000 people joined a protest in Copenhagen and over 450,000 have signed a petition against the abolition. Public service workers featured as speakers at the protest rally, underlining the importance for a day of rest for those facing heavy and stressful workloads. The trade unions are not only angry about the loss of the public holiday but also the fact that the government has put
The Kommunal trade union reports that municipalities on the island of Öland are looking to reduce working time while maintaining pay to try to address the recruitment problem in eldercare. Mörbylånga in the south of the island was the first to offer 85% of working hours at full-time rates in response to indications that workers needed the full-time level of pay but couldn’t cope with the demands of a full-time job. This produced an increase in recruitment and the now arrangement is being tested for a year in Borgholm in the north of the island.