Jul. 10, 2020 Fourteen trade unions that organise workers right across the National Health Service have sent joint letters to the prime minister and chancellor (finance minister) calling for quick action to agree a pay rise for all health workers. The unions argue that the public want to see health workers properly valued and rewarded and that a decent pay rise would be a step in the right direction. The unions don't want a simple COVID-19 bonus but a pay rise that will help retain and recruit staff and address the falling purchasing power of health workers who have seen pay frozen or capped below inflation over the past 10 years. The unions are also clear that all support staff should be covered as well as those employed by private contractors.
Jul. 10, 2020 The SINTAP trade union has welcomed the payment of a COVID-19 bonus for health workers who have been involved in treating infected patients. It is a lump sum worth 50% of basic pay. Workers will also get an extra day of leave for every 80 hours they have worked during the emergency and a further day of leave for every 48 hours of overtime worked during the same period. The union has, however, called for the bonus to be extended to other groups of workers. Meanwhile the SEP nurses' union has secured changes for nurses which ensure firstly that if infected with COVID-19 this is assumed to be work-related and so nurses don't have to prove the causal link. They will also get 100% sick pay rather than 70%.
Jul. 10, 2020 Public and private sector health unions (younion, GÖD, vida and GPA-djp) have joined with the chamber of labour and chamber of doctors in a campaign - "health offensive" - to achieve major change across the health and long-term care and tackle some of the long-standing issues of understaffing and overwork that have been exposed by the impact of COVID-19. The unions have managed to establish a structured dialogue with the health ministry to address seven key issues - staffing, working conditions, training, career development, investment and ensuring service provision.
Jul. 10, 2020 The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT have taken the government to task over the failure to implement a series of agreements. Around 200 FSC-CCOO activists protested outside the public services directorate on 9 July over employment, equality and, pay and other issues. The union wants action over jobs to make up some of the 43,000 that have been cut over the past 10 years. They also highlight the failure to properly implement equality plans and are calling for last year's agreement on pay to be put into effect to partially compensate for the 14% fall in purchasing power since austerity measures were in force. Staff in state museums are due to strike on 19 and 26 July over these issues. Meanwhile, the FeSP-UGT federation has highlighted the government's failure to reduce temporary employment which has risen from just under 17% to nearly 21% over the past four years but is much higher in some parts of the public services such as healthcare where it tops 46%.
Jul. 09, 2020 After a lengthy campaign of protests and industrial action, unions have secured an additional €1 billion in funding from the federal government to improve pay and conditions for health workers. €500 million will go towards the implementation of a new pay system and harmonisation of pay in the private and public sectors. Unions estimate this will mean pay increases of 5%-6%. €400 million will cover additional staff to ensure a better staff/patient ratio and 10% of this amount will contribute to improved training. €100 million is allocated to improving working conditions, including in particular more permament contracts and more hours for part-time workers. There will also be new rights to take three consecutive weeks of annual leave, a right to training in general but also for workers' reps and other measures covering pensions and action to reduce burnout. While unions have welcomed this initiative covering services funded at federal level, campaigning continues to put pressure on the other levels of government that are responsible for other health and social services.
Jul. 07, 2020
MEPs commit to pressure the European Parliament to investigate the impact on COVID-19 in long term facilities
With a public statement, 88 MEPs from 6 political groups express their support to the letter that EPSU, AGE and EDF sent on 1 July urging the European Parliament to establish in inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 in long term care facilities across Europe.
Jul. 07, 2020
The European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for the Hospitals and Healthcare sector shared its view with MEP Cristian-Silviu BUŞOI on the draft report on the proposed EU4Health programme in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jul. 01, 2020 The vida trade union has criticised employers in private health institutions for unilaterally postponing negotiations until September. The union argues that this leaves workers paying the price and that rather than COVID-19 being used as an excuse for suspending negotiations it should be a good reason for a quick settlement to compensate for inflation and with an increased allowance for dangerous work. There have been actions around the country on the issue and the union will be looking for workers to put more pressure on employers to resume negotiations.
Jul. 01, 2020 The FOA trade union is gearing up for the public sector pay negotiations over a new collective agreement to follow the current agreement that expires in March 2021. There had been some discussion about postponing the negotiations but they will now go ahead with unions expecting tough bargaining conditions. Public sector wage increases are linked to developments in the private sector and so there will be some constraints but unions are determined to secure pay rises for their members and the FOA is stressing again the need to support low paid workers who have been less advantaged by pay increases that are normally set at percentages rather than as flat-rate amounts. The union is hoping that as lock-down restrictions continue to relaxed, union members will be able to meet from the autumn to discuss the main bargaining demands.
Jul. 01, 2020 Health and social care trade unions have reinforced their demands for a major boost to pay and conditions, jobs and training in the health and social care sectors in response to the offer of a EUR 300 bonus to some health care staff. The bonus would be in the form of a voucher for spending in the retail and catering other specific sectors. However, it would only go to services directly funded by the federal government and so many care sector workers would miss out. Unions are also critical that it is tax and social contribution-free. Health and care trade unions have a series of key demands that they have been pushing for some time that will require substantial increased funding for the sector.
Jul. 01, 2020
EPSU calls on the European Parliament to investigate the tragic effects of COVID-19 on the care sector
Today EPSU together with the European Disability Forum and the Age Platform Europe will formally call on the European Parliament to launch an investigation to assess the failures of authorities in addressing and managing the crisis in the long-term care sector during COVID-19.
Jul. 01, 2020 Trade unions organising in the health and social care sectors took to the streets again on 30 June as part of their long-running campaign to secure increased public funding, more jobs and better pay and conditions for workers in both public and private sectors, improved training, an end to closures of facilities. A further day of action is planned for 14 July. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.