The vida and GPA private services unions have negotiated a new collective agreement covering the 7,000 employees in the regional associations of the Austrian Red Cross. All employees in the framework collective agreement will get a 9.15% increase while all employees in the new collective agreement section B and in the province of Vienna will get 9.2%. The increases are backdated to 1 January 2024. The collective agreement ensures that important provisions that previously differed from one province to another have now been successfully harmonised across the country, with a normal working week
Negotiating and campaigning on working time
After pay, working time is core collective bargaining issue but is also an important area of employment regulated by national and European legislation. EPSU has been very active in defending and calling for proper implementation of the Working Time Directive and is involved in current debates on working time. The why and how of working time reduction is a guide produced for EPSU by the European Trade Union Institute and examines long-term trends in working time, the arguments for reducing it and examples of how this has been achieved.
EPSU has published the second in a series of articles on working time reduction, focusing this time on Iceland. Ten years ago the country had some of the longest weekly working hours in Europe and then trade unions began to address the issue through a series of pilot projects and negotiations in both municipalities and central administration. Trade unions worked closely with management to ensure services were maintained and the results of the pilot projects showed that working time could be reduced without loss of pay with surveys showing increased well-being among workers. Many local and
The ver.di trade union starts the new year with a demand for better working hours and working conditions, more money and more staff across the public services and is launching a campaign and survey on working hours among public sector employees. In local public transport the union is calling for a reduction in weekly working hours, additional relief days for shift and night work and an increase in holiday entitlement. Ver.di also says that a total of more than 300,000 positions are currently unfilled in federal, state and local governments and with many workers due to retire around 1.4 million
EPSU has commissioned the UK-based Labour Research Department to produce a series of articles analysing recent examples of working time reduction. The first article looks at Austria where public service unions in both private and public sectors have taken action to cut weekly working time, particularly in the large private sector agreement covering health and social care workers. The next article, to be published in February, will provide an update on the situation in Iceland and in March the focus will be on other Nordic countries. IndustriAll Europe has also produced a series of briefings
The HK Kommunal trade union reports that the City Council of Vesthimmerland in the north of Denmark is giving all administrative employees the opportunity to divide their 37-hour working week over four days. This follows similar initiatives in other municipalities, including Odsherred, Gentofte, Esbjerg, Solrød. The experiment will be evaluated in November when it may be extended to other categories of employee. The option is entirely voluntary and will be based on allocating 74 hours over two weeks. Unscheduled citizen inquiries will be closed on Fridays and, as far as possible, there will be
Vårdförbundet, the trade union for health professionals has set out its main demands for shorter working hours and higher wages for the upcoming negotiations with the SALAR and Sobona employer organisations. The collective agreement covers 90,000 midwives, biomedical analysts, radiographers and nurses employed by municipalities and regions. A recent report by the union found that three out of 10 members work part time and many of these do so because they can't cope with full-time hours. Half say that the main reason is the need for rest and recovery. The survey also showed that one in two part
A new survey by the FOA trade union provides some insight into how increasing the number of part-time workers who work additional hours could help alleviate the major staff shortages currently affecting care for the elderly. The survey found that 36% of part-time employees in elderly care would work additional hours with a higher salary and that 14% just want more hours but are not given the opportunity to do so at their workplace. However, job satisfaction is also key along with the potential to develop professional skills. These are virtually impossible in the current climate as care workers
An analysis of data working time from the Eurofound research agency by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) shows how collective bargaining can deliver a better work-life balance. Workers in countries with the highest levels of collective bargaining coverage enjoy up to a month more leisure time each year – without loss of pay – than those where coverage is lower. In countries where nine in 10 workers are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the average working time is 1,674 hours a year (excluding overtime). In contrast, in countries where only one in 10 workers are covered
The Kommunal trade union has had an initial exchange with the SALAR and Sobona employer organisations ahead of the negotiations this spring on the largest collective agreement in Sweden, covering 1.2 million workers in healthcare, schools and social services. The union wants a new wage arrangement that provides a clear link between salary and professional development. Kommunal also wants a system that achieves sustainable working hours based on annual staffing surveys and with a move away from split shifts. According to the union the current pay system is too arbitrary and seven out of 10
The FNV and other trade unions have suspended their industrial action and mobilisations in the youth care sector pending negotiations on the basis of an improved pay offer from the employers. This involves a pay increase of 8% on 1 January 2024 and 1.25% on 1 July 2024 with an additional lump sum of €400. There would then be a 3% increase for 2025 and inflation compensation to a maximum of 2.25%, if inflation is higher than 3%. The minimum wage will rise to €15 per hour and the working-from-home allowance to €3 per day. This compares to the previous offer of a 6.7% increase and additional 2%
The latest review of working time developments by the Eurofound research agency notes increased debates around the issue of working time reduction but few examples of where this has been implemented in practice. It reports on a couple of examples of shorter working hours in the private and non-profit health and social care sectors in Austria and a municipal company in Portugal. The public sector agreement in Lithuania includes additional day’s leave for education and training while national legislation there now allows for a 32-hour/four-day week for state and municipal employees who have
The vida and GPA trade unions have initiated negotiations in the private health and social care sector with a demand for a 15% pay increase with a minimum of €400. The sector employs 130000 workers and the unions are calling for action to address the fact that pay is on average 22% below national average earnings. GPA and vida also argue that the public funding is there and that employers in the sector need to ensure they get the support from government to cover the pay rises and to ensure the sector is more attractive and help tackle staffing shortages. In addition to pay, the unions are also
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.