Sep. 27, 2019 Health unions have managed to ensure that the government will honour the current collective agreement that commited it to pay increases of 3% and 4% this year. The unions were forced to organise a high-profile national campaign - "5 to midnight" - when the government indicated it would not implement the increases. The campaign highlighted the state of the health service, understaffing and overwork and the need to recognise health workers' commitment. The unions are now looking forward to the start of the next pay negotiations and will continue their campaign on the need to invest in the health service.
Sep. 27, 2019 The energy unions CGT, CFE CGC, CFDT and FO report massive support for their day of strike action on 19 September in protest at the Hercule project - plans for a major restructuring of the country's main energy company EDF. The unions have called on the government, the main shareholder in EDF, to block the project and they are planning further action from 10 October if there is no commitment from the company to withdraw the plans. EPSU organised demonstrations in Brussels in support of the strikers.
Sep. 27, 2019 Following a meeting with the health ministry earlier this month, negotiations between unions and the private sector health employers have restarted and a timetable of weekly meetings foreseen. The unions were becoming frustrated by the refusal of the two employer organisations to negotiate a renewal of the sector agreement which has been effectively frozen for over 12 years.
Sep. 27, 2019 Hospital unions, including FNV and NU'91 - are extremely disappointed by the latest offer from the employers in the negotiations that cover 200000 health workers. The employers offered a one-off payment in 2020 (worth around 4% of pay) and a 4% pay increase in 2021 with an additional payment for irregular work. However, at the same time they want to reduce their social contributions and workers' payments when off sick. The unions are aiming for a 5% in a 12-month agreement and want to see pay improved for all workers not just the 50% who work irregular hours. The unions are also calling for action on working time and breaks. Various actions around the country are continuing.
Sep. 27, 2019 Unions in the UK and Ireland are both making moves towards a four-day week campaign with the TUC's initiative in the UK gaining momentum with support from the Labour Party. The TUC's conference last year put a four-day week on the agenda and last week's Labour Party conference set out the 10-year objective of a 32-hour week without loss of pay. Meanwhile public services union Forsa was the first Irish union to back a new coalition of businesses, environmental and other campaigning organisations to support a Four Day Week Ireland campaign for working time reduction.
Sep. 27, 2019 Central government union PCS organised a fifth week of action against outsourcing company Interserve which provides services for the Foreign Office. The core of the dispute is over union recognition. Meanwhile, the union also organised a five-day strike by cleaners employed by the ISS multinational which has a contract with the tax and revenue service (HMRC) on Merseyside in north west England.
Sep. 27, 2019 Over 250 schools across the country saw action by school secretaries (heads of administration) with widespread support from teaching staff and parents. The action was over the fact that the vast majority of school secretaries are on precarious contracts and paid up to EUR 12500 less than school secretaries directly employed by the ministry of education. The action went ahead on 20 September after negotiations with the ministry failed to deliver a breakthrough.
Sep. 27, 2019 The three prison unions - FeSP-UGT, ACAIP and FSC-CCOO - organised a demonstration in Madrid on 24 September to coincide with an event organised by the prison service management to celebrate their patron saint. The unions highlighted the urgent staff shortages - around 3000 across the service - and the daily attacks against prison workers. They also raised issues such as the lack of negotiations and unilateral decisions by management and the need for pay to properly reflect the demands of the job.
Sep. 26, 2019 The ver.di health union at the KfH, a national institute for dialysis and kidney transplants employing around 7000 workers, is planning its next pay claim with a view to closing the pay gap with the main public sector agreement which is between 5%-11% depending on the occupation. The union is also aiming to negotiate several improvements in pay and conditions that will apply only to ver.di members. The main demand will be for an 8% pay rise covering the 12-month period from 1 January 2020. The union also wants a system of variable payments to be replaced with a single fixed holiday payment of ERU 1500, again specifically for ver.di members. The claim also includes improvements for trainees.
Sep. 26, 2019 The vida private services union has reported with concern a violent incident between patients at an addition clinic in Vienna. The union says it was shocking that at the time there was only one member of staff on the night shift responsible for 45 patients. Vida wants immediate action to ensure no member of staff works alone and calls for support for its new campaign, "More of us, better for everyone." The campaign calls for 20% more staff in hospitals and national, legal minimum staffing levels along with measures to boost education and training.