2023 September EPSU Collective Bargaining Newsletter No. 19
Members of the Fórsa, INMO and SIPTU trade unions, employed in community and voluntary sector agencies funded by the state sector will begin indefinite strike action in a range of workplaces from Tuesday 17 October. The action, involving workers mainly in the health and social care sectors, is coordinated by the ICTU confederation and was overwhelmingly supported by members in ballots that took place following the breakdown of talks at the Workplace Relations Commission in July. The long-running dispute is over the failure by employers to address pay disparity between these workers and their
The three public service federations Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp and Uil-Fpl coordinated a one-day strike on 27 September against the AIOP private health and social care employers’ organisation in protest at its refusal to negotiate with them and to negotiate instead with the unrepresentative UGL trade union. The federations issued the strike warning back in July after conciliation failed to resolve the dispute with AIOP and since then the employers have failed to return to negotiations. The three federations will also mobilise during the day to put pressure on regional health authorities to take action
Members of the FNV trade union in energy supply voted 83% in favour of a new 18-month collective agreement that is backdated to 1 July 2023. Wages will increase by 6% on 1 October and full-time workers will also get a lump-sum payment of €1000 gross. There will be a further pay rise of 2% on 1 January 2024, which will see the introduction of a minimum hourly wage of €15 gross for skilled employees (including the 2% increase). There will be another 2% increase on 1 July 2024. Meanwhile, the FNV has negotiated a new two-year agreement for 7000 ambulance staff that will run until 31 January 2025
Over 500 delegates took part in a national conference organised by the STAL trade union on 20 September to reaffirm priority demands on pay, career development, working conditions and stronger public services. The activists also underlined the need to intensify mobilisations to achieve these objectives. The meeting endorsed the demands set out by the CGTP-IN confederation for 2024, including a 15% increase in wages, with a minimum of €150 for all workers; an increase in the national minimum wage in public administration to €910 in January 2024, reaching €1000 later in the year; a standard 35
The public sector unions representing health and social care workers, younion and GÖD, organised a protest outside the Ministry of Health earlier this month to warn of imminent burn out of the health sector. The unions are calling on the government to take urgent action on staff shortages and to convene a national health summit. Younion and GÖD presented new calculations on the growing staffing gap in the health sector with a national shortage of 3369 nurses in state, community and district hospitals, an increase of 19.2% compared to May of this year. With 986 vacancies for doctors, more
The ver.di trade union has negotiated a new 23-month collective agreement with the Alterric renewable energy company. This includes a 4.1% pay increase from 1 July this year, with a minimum of €150. There will also be an inflation compensation premium of €2000, divided into 12 monthly payments (€166) starting from 1 July when the training allowance will be increased by €200. There will be a 5% pay increase from 1 July 2024. Meanwhile, ver.di is organising warning strikes to put pressure on the employers in the AVEU negotiations that cover the private energy sector in Eastern Germany. The union
On 21 September the ADEDY civil service confederation organised national strike action in protest at labour law changes that were due to be discussed in parliament that day. The changes target the public sector and include relaxations in working time rules that could see civil servants working up to 13 hours a day/78 per week. The changes would mark the end of the five-day week, allow for highly precarious contracts as well as stricter rules on strikes.
The three main trade union confederations – ACV/CSC, ABVV/FGTB and ACLVB/CGSLB – are taking further steps to defend trade union rights and particularly the rights to strike and protest. They will be joining other civil society and campaigning organisations on 5 October in a national demonstration against the Van Quickenborne law which will make it increasingly difficult to organise protests. The unions have already challenged attacks on trade union rights and particularly legal action taken against trade union strikers and protestors in the recent long-running Delhaize dispute in the retail
Over the past month the SDE energy workers’ union has submitted a proposal for extraordinary salary increase in the energy sector and has been lobbying on the draft of the law on energy policy, provisions of which could limit the right to strike. The union is also still active in providing support to energy workers that were affected by major floods in Slovenia in August. The solidarity fund initiated by the SDE has received wide support both nationally and internationally.
Planned industrial action on 15 September was called off when the Kommunal municipal services union agreed a mediated deal with the Visita company that provides catering services to hospitals. A key issue for the union was to ensure that the pay settlement included specific provisions for the lower paid which is a central demand in the current collective bargaining round. The agreement runs for two years from 1 September 2023 and will mean increases to the minimum wage of SEK 1350 (€116) in year one and SEK 1100 (€95) in year two. The pot for general increases will be SEK 1036 (€89) in the
Members of the UNISON, Unite, GMB and RCM trade unions joined five other unions in coordinated strike action over pay on 21 and 22 September. Workers in the province are frustrated by the low level of pay offered to civil service workers, the complete lack of a pay offer in the health service and the continuing problems with staffing shortages. The unions are particularly frustrated about the fact that many public service workers in England, Scotland and Wales have aleady accepted pay offers and that the pay gap between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK is increasing. The ETUC sent a
The Eurofound research agency has published a new analysis of trends in sector collective bargaining as negotiators respond to the challenge of rising inflation. It found that collectively negotiated wages in 2022 did not reflect the rising cost of living, resulting in further purchasing power losses for employees. The study focused on four sectors – chemical and pharmaceutical, metalworking, and hospitality and domestic work – in France, Germany and Italy where wages have mostly been growing slower than inflation. It notes the positive impact of increases in statutory minimum wages