Jul. 15, 2020 The German subsidiary of the Veolia environmental services multinational has agreed to set up a €1 million pandemic fund after negotiations with the ver.di trade union. The fund will be available until the end of 2020 and will provide financial support of up to €10000 to workers who have been affected by COVID-19. The employees who could benefit include workers with children under 12 who can't find childcare, single parents, workers with other care responsibilities and who have been through family bereavements. The company implemented a short-time working agreement and topped up the funding from the government but is aware that some workers, particularly those on the minimum wage for the sector, have been hard hit.
Jun. 26, 2020 The ver.di services union has given notice of the end of the current agreement covering 2.3 million workers in federal and municipal government on 31 August. This confirms that negotiations will get underway and the union is looking for an appropriate pay increase to recognise the hard work done by its members particularly during the current crisis. At a meeting with employers earlier this month there had been a discussion about the possibility of postponing bargaining until next year and giving all workers a lump sum payment this year as an interim measure. However, the union says the employers are taking a tough line. From 6 July there will be discussions across workplaces about the main bargaining aims which will be finalised at a meeting of the collective bargaining committee on 25 August.
Jun. 15, 2020 Health union ver.di has negotiated very large pay increases in a local agreement with the non-profit ASB ambulance service in Löbau in Saxony. There will be pay rises of 25%-35% in 2021 followed by a further 8.3% over the next three years so that pay will match the public sector by 2024. Working time will be reduced from 48 to 40 hours a week. This follows a similar deal in Görlitz in the same region. Ver.di hopes that these are setting examples for others to follow. Meanwhile the union has also negotiated a new 18-month agreement covering 4500 employees in 34 institutions run by the Paracelsus private company. The agreement is backdated to January 2020 with a 2.2% pay increase, followed by a 2.0% increase in January 2021. There will also be a EUR 110 increase on the payment for trainees while the acute care allowance is increased by EUR 75. There will be an additional three days' of pay leave during the period of the agreement but this applies only to ver.di members.
Jun. 05, 2020 Progress with collective bargaining in the public sector has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Around 2.1 million workers are covered by the agreement for Federal and Municipal government which was last negotiated in 2018 and runs until 31 August this year. The trade union ver.di convened its collective bargaining committee earlier this month where it postponed the decision to formally give notice on the end of the agreement which would start negotiations. There will be an opening discussion with the VKA employers' organisation on 16 June and the collective bargaining committee will reconvene on 18 June to consider the options. Meanwhile, in specific negotiations covering workers in social and childcare only one of three planned negotiating meetings with the VKA have taken place and further meetings not yet confirmed. Negotiations on a collective agreement on digitalisation were due to start in April but have been postponed to August.
Jun. 03, 2020 The ver.di health union has welcomed parliamentary approval of the EUR 1500 COVID-19 bonus for all workers in elder care. This is important to ensure that all regions allocate funding to cover the payments following debate on how the bonus would be funded. Ver.di has also been critical of the private companies in the sector making high profits but unwilling to cover the full cost of the payment. The union says that it is still negotiating a new collective agreement with the BVAP employers’ organisation that it hopes will address the long-standing problem of low pay and poor working conditions in the sector.
May. 04, 2020 On 28 and 29 April, the ver.di union, representing health and care workers, organised a photo action, projecting photos of care workers on key buildings including the ministry of health and parliament. The union was drawing attention to the work being done by hundreds of thousands of workers across health and social care despite the risks and often without adequate personal protective equipment. According to the union at least 42 health and care staff have died as a result of COVID-19. While welcoming the EUR 1500 bonus paid to staff in elder care, the union points out that not only have many health and other social care workers not received any bonus, but more importantly action needs to be taken in the longer term to improve pay and conditions across the sector.
Apr. 08, 2020 The public service union ver.di and care sector employers' organisation BVAP have agreed on a EUR 1500 payment for all care workers in recognition of the work they have been doing during the COVID-19 crisis. The payment will be made in July and part-time workers will get a proportional amount while trainees will get EUR 900. The payment will go to all nurses, carers and assistants working in long-term and home care and the aim is to make it generally binding and so covering also any commercial and other providers who are not members of BVAP. Ver.di and the employers are in the process of negotiating a collective agreement for the sector for the first time. Ver.di has also negotiated a short-time working agreement with the VKA municipal employers' organisation. While the threats of job and/or hours cuts are not affecting many public services, such as health, care, employment services and social security, others, such as sports and culture and local transport have been hit hard by closures and reduced activity. The agreement is effective from 1 April and runs until the end of the year. Most workers - those on pay grades 1-10, will get 95% of their take-home pay while those on the highest pay grade (11) will get 90%. Employers covered by the agreement will not be able to make any compulsory redundancies for the period short-time work and the following three months.
Feb. 18, 2020 Strike action, a major demonstration, political support and international solidarity have combined to bring the Ameos health company to the negotiating table. Members of the ver.di services union have been on strike to get a collective agreement and the reinstatement of 14 colleagues who were sacked at the end of last year by the management of Ameos in the Saxony-Anhalt region. International solidarity was channelled through a labourstart campaign with over 6300 signatures calling on the company to negotiate. The strike action has now been suspended to allow time for negotiations which were due to start on 20 February.
Feb. 03, 2020 Workers at the Ameos private, for-profit health company in the Saxony-Anhalt region are taking strike action despite the aggressive intimidation of the company's management. The union wants to negotiate a collective agreement which links workers' pay and conditions to the public sector agreement. Not only have management refused to negotiate but they sacked 14 trade union activists before Christmas and are threatening a further 800 job cuts if the union contnues its campaign. EPSU joined with ver.di in launching a labourstart campaign, targeting the company management.
Feb. 03, 2020 The ver.di services union has welcomed a major improvement in minimum wages in the care sector agreed by the joint care sector committee that recommends rates for implementation by the labour ministry. With higher increases for Eastern regions, it means that there will be single rates for the whole country by September 2021. The rate for non-qualified workers will rise to EUR 11.35 this year and to EUR 12.55 by 2022. The rate for those with two-years' training will rise to EUR 13.20 and a new rate for those with three years' training will be introduced in 2021 at EUR 15 and rise to EUR 15.40 by 2022. The union underlines that it is aiming for further improvements for workers in elder care in the current negotiations with employers for a collective agreement to cover this sector for the first time.
Jan. 21, 2020 The ver.di health union, working with the German Hospital Association and German Nursing Council, has made a major breakthrough in developing a staffing assessment tool that should help deliver safe staffing levels. It means that each hospital section will be assessed both in terms of patient care needs and number of employees required to ensure the health and workload of nursing staff. Tested in 44 hospitals, the system has proven that it can be practically implemented. Ver.di believes this will make a real difference to the longstanding challenge of tackling staff shortages and wants the system introduced as a nationwide regulation. It understands, however, that a transition period will be required in order to begin to address the estimated 80000 shortfall in nursing staff across the country.
Jan. 06, 2020 Both the ver.di service union and the BVAP employers' organisation report making good progress in their negotiations on a first-ever sector agreement covering eldercare providers. The two sides have also confirmed that they will apply to the labour ministry to have the agreement extended to cover all providers in the sector even if they are not party to the negotiations. The next round of negotiations will take place on 4-5 February. In the meantime the two sides report specific progress on a separate agreement covering trainees that will ensure pay will eventually match that for trainees in the healthcare sector.