A number of public service trade unions are involved in negotiations with employers and the government to address pay inequality and staff shortages. In September the government set out proposals to provide DKK 3 billion (€400 million) to cover higher pay for social workers, nurses and workers in early years education and care. The government wants part of the deal to provide additional hours for part-time workers. Prison staff are also set to benefit and there is additional funding for them. These negotiations come shortly before and are separate from the normal three-yearly bargaining on the main agreements covering local and regional government and the state sector. The trade union negotiating team includes representatives of five public service unions – FOA , DSR, HK Kommunal, HK Stat and BUPL – along with a representative of the FH confederation.
Tripartite negotiations pre-empt normal public sector bargaining
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Some public service federations will be joining their private sector colleagues in a national demonstration on 5 October calling for an increase in salaries and the minimum wage. The unions note that private company profits are surging along with dividends to shareholders while workers are facing higher prices, not least for energy. In the public sector, workers are facing another year of a freeze on the index that determines salary levels with the government again having to adjust the lowest salary levels just to ensure that they don’t fall below the minimum wage.
Public sector unions have welcomed the outcome of negotiations with the employers and government which have delivered a package of pay-related measures backed with DKK 6.8 billion (€910 million) of funding. A number of different groups of workers across the public sector will benefit, particularly those affected by major staff shortages. Around DKK 1.3 billion (€170 million) will go into health and elder care, for example. The package will have a wider impact than anticipated as, in addition to the higher pay for occupations like nurses, care workers, social educators and prison staff, a much
The Pergam trade union confederation that includes many public sector unions joined the ZSSS confederation in a national demonstration in Ljubljana on 5 December. The protest was called in reaction to employer organisations' attacks on proposals to increase the minimum wage and threats to end sector collective bargaining. The action, taking place outside the head offices of a number of employer organisations, also called for a general pay increase for workers, recognising the problems of low pay and precarious employment.