Jun. 26, 2017 Public service unions bargaining for better pay across Europe A pay rise for public service workers across Europe is the message that EPSU has sent out today – 23rd June – Public Services Day. Supported by the European Trade Union Confederation and in cooperation with the ETUCE teachers' federation, EPSU has highlighted some of the countries where public service workers continue to suffer from the effects of pay cuts and pay freezes. This special issue of EPSU's Collective Bargaining newsletter reports on some of the latest developments in pay negotiations and affiliates' campaigns, protests and other actions in support of those negotiations. Ireland: Public service workers suffered significant pay cuts in 2009 and 2010 with take-home pay also affected by a pensions levy. Unions are in the process of considering and consulting over a potential three-year pay deal which, if agreed, would mean a significant step towards pay restoration. The positions of the various unions can be seen at IMPACT, SIPTU, INMO, PSEU, CPSU and AHCPS. Czech Republic: The OSZPS health and social care union launched a campaign earlier this year exposing the pressing problem of low pay and overwork, with many workers leaving for better paid jobs in other sectors or other countries. The union has negotiated pay increases and new pay arrangements which will provide pay increases of between 9% and 23.5%. The highest increases will go to the lowest paid, following the abolition of the lowest three pay grades in the pay scale. UK: Public sector unions have been pressing for some time for an end to the 1% cap on public sector pay. This, combined with earlier pay freezes, has meant a major loss of purchasing power. Local government workers in Scotland are currently balloting over industrial action while in England and Wales they have launched their pay claim for 2018. Health workers are also angry over pay restraint and civil servants have seen their pay progression blocked as well as pay frozen. Latest updates can be found at: UNISON, Unite, GMB, RCN and PCS. Spain: The main federations in the public sector, FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT, are mobilising around the country to secure a pay rise and other changes to employment conditions to restore cuts implemented since 2010. The most recent action was in Valladolid. Meanwhile, both federations are also supporting protests and strike action around the world to improve pay for the thousands of workers in embassies, consuls and other bodies. More information on the action in public administration can be read at FSC and FeSP while updates on the international campaigns can be found here and here. Belgium: The non-profit/social profit sector is a major employer in Belgium and covers a wide range of health and social services. Unions have been campaigning and negotiating for some time to secure improvements to pay, hours and to increase employment in a sector facing major pressures from overwork. The latest action took place at the beginning of June and while some concessions have been made the unions say they are still a long way from achieving their key demands. Read more at CSC-CNE/LBC-NVK, CGSP/ABVV and CGSLB/ACLVB. Austria: The two main unions in the private health and social services sector, vida and GPA-djp, have been negotiating and campaigning for higher minimum wages in their sector agreements. They are aiming for all sector agreements to have a minimum of at least EUR 1500 and then going for higher targets as this minimum is achieved. Further information can be read at vida and GPA-djp. Netherlands: The FNV trade union has just negotiated a new 27-month deal covering 55000 workers in welfare and social services. There will be a 3.65% increase in pay over the course of the agreement and a one-off payment worth 0.5% in January 2019. There are also provisions to deal with increasing work pressure. For further details check FNV. There are plenty more reports on recent pay settlements on EPSU's website. Here you'll find updates on some of the main bargaining outcomes in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden and Turkey and further updates from Austria, Ireland and the Netherlands. And there's lots of other bargaining news that can be searched by sector, subject and country.
May. 25, 2017 (May 2017) The OSZSP heath and social care union has called on the government to take immediate steps to increase pay for social care workers. The union argues that these workers are very badly paid for the responsible and demanding job they do. This is resulting in a recruitment crisis in the sector. The union wants to see the agreement to cut the two lowest pay rates on the social care pay scales implemented and for care workers to be covered by the health care salary structure.
May. 09, 2017 (May 2017) The OSZSP health and social services union has launched a campaign to improve pay in the social services sector under the slogan "end cheap labour". The union has already had a meeting with the government where it highlighted staff shortages, excessive workloads and very low pay with some on as little as CZK 12000 a month (EUR 450). The union stresses that staff shortages are set to become more urgent as workers in the sector retire and there is increased demand from an older population.
Feb. 16, 2017
What does it take to make the union stronger ? Actively addressing workers’ issues, reputation and dedication of trade union shopstewards and union leadership and of course more members.
Feb. 14, 2017 (February 2017) The OSZSP healthworkers' union announced strike action on 8 February in the emergency services in the South Moravia region. The union there had been trying to resolve a number of issues including excessive workloads, staff shortages, problems with implementing the collective agreement and discrimination in pay. The strike action was called after management not only failed to propose any concrete solutions but took decisions that only worsened the situation.
Dec. 21, 2016
Local successes in union recruitment were shared by health unions from Eastern Europe at a meeting in Prague on 16 December.
Sep. 08, 2016 (September 2016) Over 1000 trade unionists, including many representatives from EPSU unions, gathered in Prague on 7 September as part of the pay campaign coordinated by the CMKOS confederation. End cheap labour is the campaign slogan and union data shows the extent to which pay trends in the country have lagged behind other parts of Europe. CMKOS notes that there has already been some progress this year with pay increases promised to civil servants and health workers and the target next year is for unions to negotiate pay increases of 5% to 5.5%. Read more at CMKOS (CZ).
Aug. 15, 2016 (August 2016) A survey of collective agreements across the Czech Republic for 2014-2015 shows ear-on-year, there was a significant increase in the number of collective agreements containing commitments on overall wage increases and commitments to increase salary tariffs. The survey also looked at salary bonuses and benefits as well as working hours and holidays where there were no significant developments over the period covered. Read more at Eurofound.
Jan. 28, 2016 At the end of December unions signed an historic first collective agreement with the government covering around 69000 state employees. The agreement establishes many existing working and employment conditions and is aimed specifically at improving social conditions and health and safety at work. It also provides for the possibility of discussions on indexation of civil service pay scales for the following year. The agreement runs for the calendar year 2016 and was negotiated by the state sector, health, defence and education unions.Read more at > statorg (CZ)And at > OSZ (CZ)And > Prague Post news website (EN)
Sep. 25, 2015 Wages in the public sector will increase by 3% in November with a further 2% for civil servants at the beginning of next year. The confirmation of the pay rise comes at a time when the CMKOS trade union confederation is launching a major campaign to win pay increases across the economy.Read more at > OSSOO (CZ)And at > Prague Monitor (EN)And at > CMKOS (CZ)
Jun. 25, 2015 The member organisations of the CMKOS trade union confederation aim to work together in a campaign to highlight the problem of low pay in the country. CMKOS has called a rally on 16 September in Prague that will be a key step towards coordinated action in 2016. An important aim will be to underline the impact of low wages not just on workers but also to highlight the negative impact on the economy and on productivity.Read more at > CMKOS (CZ)
Feb. 03, 2015 Following negotiations with the new government public service unions have negotiated increased salaries and wages for all public service employees. Wage rates increased for all employees either by 3.5% from November 2014 or by 5% from 1 January 2015. Unions report this as a successful outcome to their bargaining and plan to negotiate to rectify the cuts imposed by the previous government, which had a negative impact not just on staff but on citizens dependent on public services.
Apr. 30, 2014 CZ firefightersOn 10 April, the Interior Minister, Milan Chovanec announced that 6500 uniformed firefighters would benefit from a revised assessment of occupational risk and will be entitled to the highest category of special supplementary danger money. This will mean an increase of CZK 1000 CZK (€36) per month in salaries including bonuses for emergency service. The Minister of the Interior also announced a CZK 39 million (€1.4m) increase in the fire service budget.Read more at > OSH (CZ)