May. 08, 2020 Health trade unions have issued a joint statement reiterating their serious concerns about the failures in provision of safety equipment and testing for health workers who have been struggling to maintain services despite the risks they have been facing. The unions also warn that the situation with protective equipment and tests needs to be resolved before any major moves to de-confinement otherwise there would be a major risk of a second wave of infection. The joint statement contains a reaffirmation of the key demands of the unions that they have been campaigning around over the last two years including, revaluation of pay and jobs; increased funding; more training and increased recruitment; a stop on closure of facilities and guarantee of access to services for all.
May. 08, 2020 The ETUC has published a first COVID-19 Watch briefing on social dialogue across Europe. Covering 20 countries, the briefing indicates that in most countries trade unions have been involved in various degrees in consultation and negotiation over emergency measures. This includes Spain and Italy, two of the countries worst hit by the pandemic. In France, the situation is more mixed with some limitation on trade union involvement in discussing key measures. More worrying have been the developments in Croatia, Hungary and Poland. While the Croatian withdrew plans to limit trade union and employment rights, emergency legislation in Hungary and Poland allows for major restrictions on social dialogue and trade union rights.
May. 08, 2020 Public service union PASYDY is to pursue a legal case on pay and pensions cuts during austerity to the European Court of Human Rights. The union has expressed disappointment with a ruling of the country's Supreme Court that the government was within its powers to cut pay and pensions in the period 2011-13 as part of austerity measures following the financial and economic crisis. PASYDY also raises questions about the conduct of the case which has dragged on for nearly eight years and the fact that the judgement appears to be in conflict with other rulings in relation to judges and pensioners.
May. 08, 2020 The SSM trade union federation has successfully negotiated a reversal of government plans to suspend the payment of allowances to public service workers during April and May. The plan was part of COVID-19 emergency measures and would have applied to a wide range of payments related to length of service, night work, annual and other leave, retirement and severance. The federation welcomed the change, underlining how social dialogue can work even in emergency situations.
May. 08, 2020 Global trade union federations have welcomed the initiative of the ENGIE energy multinational to commit to cover any hospitalisation and death-related costs arising from the COVID-19 virus for any of its 170000 employees around the world. The company is bringing forward implementation of a new CARE programme for employees that would provide help with such costs but, in the period up to 31 December 2020, is boosting this by providing full coverage of hospitalization costs related to COVID-19 and for employees temporarily without social protection providing all-cause death cover and reimbursement of hospital costs related to the disease.
May. 08, 2020 Trade unions have strongly criticised the health minister for publishing two Royal decrees affecting health workers. The first would allow non-nursing staff to carry out some nursing duties. Unions say there are no details on how this would work in practice. The second provides powers to requisition health staff to work. The unions argue that this comes at a time when the infection rate is beginning to fall but more importantly was not even needed at the height of the crisis when health workers were doing all they could do fight the pandemic. The unions say that the decrees have been imposed without proper consultation and in the fact of strong opposition and that they risk to generate a wave of discontent and protest among health workers.
May. 08, 2020 Unions representing public service workers have made clear that they do not accept the government’s proposal to suspend this year’s pay increases, along with Christmas and other bonuses. Two pay increases are due to be paid this year, both of 2% in June and October. EPSU issued a statement supporting the unions’ position and criticising the government for pushing for a pay freeze for workers on the frontline of the fight against the pandemic.
May. 08, 2020 The Welsh government has said that all care workers will get a £500 (EUR 570) bonus in recognition of the work they have been doing during the COVID-19 crisis. Trade unions have welcomed the payment which will go to all carers whether employed by local authorities, non-profit providers or private companies. Meanwhile, local government employers have said that a 2.75% pay rise is their final offer but that they will approach central government for more funding for next year. The largest local government union, UNISON, wants a joint approach to central government and will only consult members on the 2.75% offer once it is fully informed about the employers’ funding demands for next year. Non-uniformed police staff are also in negotiations and the main claims is for an increase of 6.5% or £1200 (EUR 1370) a year, whichever is higher.
May. 07, 2020 The OSZSP health union and doctors' union have called on the minister of health to ensure that bonus payments for working with COVID-19 patients are paid to all relevant staff across the health and social care sectors. The payments were agreed and confirmed by the minister of labour but the health minister has only contacted directly-managed teaching hospitals and a small number of other facilities to pay the allowance which ranges from 100 (3,70 EUR) to 500 (18,50 EUR) and up to 1500 CZK (EUR 55,30) an hour. The unions underline that all staff on the frontline should benefit whether professional or non-professional.
May. 06, 2020
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. 05, 2020 The vida and GPA-djp private services unions have called on the government to take a national approach to regulations on childcare as institutions try to get to grips with rules on safety that vary across the country. The unions are concerned that proper measures are in place to protect workers and children but they have had reports of regional authorities applying different rules on face masks as well as recommending different staff:children ratios. In the meantime, the two unions are also pushing for a new collective agreement covering around 15000 health and care staff at the non-profit provide Caritas. There has been no result after five rounds of negotiations where the unions are hoping to secure a real pay increase and shorter working time in line with the main agreement covering private health and social care.
May. 05, 2020 The three main trade union confederations - CGIL, CSIL and UIL - have criticised the government for failing to deliver on the additional resources and support needed for health workers as the country prepares to ease lockdown measures. The unions argue that key provisions in the "Care Italy" act have not been implemented leaving health workers still working long shifts, trying to cope with inadequate hospital capacity and all of this without adequate equipment or proper safety protocols - problems that have persisted for three months. The confederations also raise concerns about the pay and allowances of health workers to cover the mounting overtime and risks associated with dealing with such an infectious disease.