The European Commission adopted a European union circular economy action plan in March 2020. EPSU organised a discussion with Virginijus Sinkevičius, the Commissioner responsible.
May. 06, 2020
Apr. 23, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has now infected more than 2 million people worldwide and caused over 145,000 deaths. Like so many other key workers, workers in the waste collection, water and energy distribution sectors are risking their lives
Feb. 21, 2020 The FNV trade union has negotiated a new 12-month agreement covering around 7000 workers in the waste processing sector. There will be a 3.75% pay increase with 2.75% paid in January and 1% in August along with a one-off payment of EUR 125. Two hundred workers on flexible contracts will be offered permanent jobs. There are also improved provisions for training and there will be talks over pensions and more possibilities for early retirement related to the arduousness of the job and length of service. The young workers' pay rate (18) will rise from 85% to 87.5% of the full adult rate.
Dec. 18, 2019 Members of the STAL trade union took strike action on 12 December in the Tratolixo inter-municipal waste company that covers four local authorities near Lisbon. Meanwhile STAL members in the Resinorte and Resiestrela waste companies (part of the EGF group) are planning strike action on 26 and 27 December. In both cases the union is pushing for respect for collective bargaining, an increase in pay and improvements in working conditions. At Tratolixo the demands include implementation of the 35-hour week, 25 days' annual leave and an allowance to take account of risky and onerous working conditions. In the other companies STAL is looking for a pay increase to cover lost purchasing power and measures on career development.
Dec. 18, 2019 Public services union ver.di has negotiated a new pay deal with waste and recycling company Schönmackers. The company has 1500 employees and operates in the North Rhine Westphalia region. The agreement includes a pay increase of 3.6% from March 2020 and a further 1.3% from August 2021. There is an EUR 80 increase on trainee pay and the agreement runs to the end of January 2022. Meanwhile there is no progress in the GWE negotiations covering 7700 energy and water workers in the same region. Ver.di has rejected as completely inadequate a pay offer over 28 months that would equate to only 1.75% in the first year and 1.57% in the second year.
Apr. 03, 2019
Verdi health and social services against commercialisation and privatisation. In solidarity with DISK President standing trial
Leading activists of Verdi in the health and social services joined European actions against the privatisation and commercialisation of health and social care.
Feb. 28, 2019 Public service unions report very high levels of support for the national strike action on 14-15 February. All sectors of the public services were affected and this gives strength to the unions' claims to end the 10-year pay freeze and to address a wide range of other issues including career progression. Meanwhile, in relation to a separate action the SEP nurses' union has condemned the government for using its power of civil requisition to end a strike. The union argues that this is an excessive measure that undermines the right of healthworkers to take action and will, in any case, do nothing to resolve the dispute. Information on the right to strike in Portugal is now available in the new EPSU-ETUI series of country factsheets.
Jan. 30, 2019 The pay freeze and job cuts in the public sector have prompted action by some unions in February with the CGT taking strike action on the 5th and FO organising a week of action 3-10 February with a national demonstration on the 7th. Their principal demands focus on unfreezing pay, stopping the job cuts but there are also broader demands about the minimum wage and a fairer tax system. Fairness is also one of the factors behind the unions' joint call for strike action across the energy, water and waste company Veolia which employs 50000 workers in France. The CFDT, CFC, CFT and FO are calling for a general pay increase and higher minimum wages at the group's subsidiaries across the country and criticise the company for failing to protect employees' purchasing power and distributing company shares in a way that disproportionately benefits senior management.
Dec. 05, 2018 The ETUI research organisation has published a new report and issue of its health and safety magazine, HesaMag, that both cover the risks of workplace cancers. As many as 100000 deaths a year are linked to workplace carcinogens but it is not just hazardous substances that are of concern. The ETUI publications also cover other risks such as night work which has been linked to higher risk of breast cancer with some specific cases affecting hospital staff. HesaMag also looks at the problems of getting proper recognition of the risks faced by workers in sectors like cleaning, maintenance and waste-recycling.
Oct. 15, 2018
On 11 October 2018, EPSU’s Utilities Standing Committee came together to discuss several urgent issues.
Aug. 17, 2018 The GMB general and public services union has raised concerns about safety in the waste sector. The union says that official figures show that deaths among refuse workers rose from eight to 12 last year while staff faced 1,000 instances of dangerous driving every single day. The GMB points out that workers are facing these serious threats to their safety while having seen their pay plummet in real terms since 2011.The average earnings of a refuse worker are just over £19,000 a year (EUR 21250), 7.4% lower in real terms than in 2011.