Jan. 21, 2020 The third round of bargaining in the private health and care sector, covering around 125000 workers, ended without a result. However, the two unions - vida and GPA-djp - are sticking to their main aim of achieving a 35-hour with full compensation in terms of pay and staffing. The unions say there were constructive discussions about a staged implementation of an agreement. They argue that the commitment to shorter hours is vital for the sector to boost recruitment and tackle the long-standing issue of staffing shortages. The unions are planning to convene staff council meetings to report on the negotiations and build support for the claim.
Jan. 21, 2020 The three public service federations - FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-FPL – are continuing their intensive negotiations over a new collective agreement covering private healthcare. They managed to make progress on temporary changes in duties and working hours, confirming the 11 hours of daily rest and 14 minutes of dressing time for all those who are required to wear a uniform and maximum period of shift of 12 continuous hours. Further issues under discussion relate to illness and injury and to the central issue of pay with the aim of the unions to achieve comparability with public health.
Jan. 21, 2020 Employers have made a disappointing offer in the opening of negotiations covering maternity nurses with an increase of only 2.75% for 2020 on the table, along with a change to mileage allowances. In contrast, the union side has a much more ambitious range of demands including a 5% wage increase for 2020, reimbursement of all travel time, waiting shifts paid as contract hours, an increase of the end-of-year bonus from 6.2% to 8.33% and reimbursement of all training costs.
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. 20, 2020 Industrial action by health workers in Northern Ireland (see EPSU Collective Bargaining News December 2019, 23 and 24) has been suspended as unions consult on a pay offer and initiative to deliver safe staffing. Both UNISON and Unite will recommend to their members to accept the offer which they say will deliver pay parity with the rest of the UK and provide funding to achieve safe staffing levels. It is not yet clear if the RCN will recommend acceptance. The fourth union in the dispute, NIPSA, will recommend to its members to reject the offer while also calling out its civil service membership on a strike over pay on 24 January.
Jan. 09, 2020 A long-running dispute in hospitals in North West England has been resolved with pay rises for workers employed by the outsourcing company Compass. Before the deal, Compass employees were on the national minimum wage (£8.21 per hour/EUR 9.65), while colleagues employed directly by the NHS were earning at least £9.03 (EUR 10.60). This meant Compass workers were losing out to the tune of around £1,500 (EUR 1760) a year (see EPSU CB News August 2019, 15). The agreement negotiated by UNISON and overwhelmingly supported by the workers means they’ll now receive a significant pay rise, more money for working weekends and bank holidays and an improved sick pay scheme.
Jan. 09, 2020 Over 100 healthcare trade unionists from across the country came together last month to discuss the staffing crisis in the sector. Neither the prime minister nor minister of health were able to take part but health ministry officials did attend and were taken to task over the government's failure to address the issue and its claims that there were too many hospital beds and too few patients. The trade unionists underlined the challenges of poor working conditions and pay that were contributing to recruitment difficulties and the continuing problem of emigration of trained workers.
Jan. 08, 2020 The vpod/ssp public services has welcomed two initiatives on working time agreed with the BSH health and social care employers' organisation in the Graubünden/Grisons region. The BSH has agreed to the demand for time taken to change into and out of work clothes to be recorded as working time. This is a key demand in a national campaign being run by the union. Ten minutes a day is allocated to changing clothes but this may be adjusted depending on the outcome of a legal case in the Zürich region. The vpod/ssp also welcomes the decision of BSH to recommend a minimum of 25 days' annual leave to its member organisations, a move which the union sees as important in helping the sector address staff shortages.
Jan. 06, 2020 A telephone hotline set up by the FNV public services union in early November was used by over 500 people, many of whom revealed disturbing information on the situation facing trainees in the care sector. There was evidence of trainees used effectively as full-time employees to cover for holidays and sickness, being required to carry out tasks on their own for which they had not been fully trained and having responsibility for other trainees and temporary workers. There were also indications of inadequate supervision and supervisors lacking time to provide adequate support. The FNV has provided information to the SBB organisation that monitors the performance of companies providing training in the sector.
Dec. 19, 2019 Four health trade unions in Northern Ireland - UNISON, Unite, NIPSA and RCN - organised a day's strike action on 18 December to demand urgent action on pay inequality in the NHS. Health workers in Northern Ireland are the lowest paid in the UK and unions argue that pay parity will be a major factor in delivering safe staffing levels. EPSU sent a message of support. The unions are also planning or have organised other forms of industrial action as part of their campaign (see EPSU CB News 22 and 23).
Dec. 19, 2019 The Kommunal municipal and health services union has set out some of the main demands that it will pursue in the upcoming collective bargaining with municipal employers. The union will aim for a 3% general pay rise with an extra 0.5% to be used at local level for specific groups of vocationally trained workers in health, child and other care. It wants vocationally trained temporary workers to be offered a permanent contract after 12 months and is calling for a number of measures on working time. Among a range of demands, Kommunal wants to ensure full-time work is the norm and argues that the employer should pay extra if it wants workers to do split shifts. It is demanding an extra day's leave for all workers and a 32-hour working week for night workers.
Dec. 18, 2019 The public service federations of the CCOO confederation have called on the acting government to guarantee that the 2% pay increase, agreed as part of a three-year pay deal, will be paid on 1 January 2020 to all three million public sector workers. Formally a new government has yet to be confirmed and the acting public service minister is claiming that the increase cannot be confirmed but that it could be paid and backdated later in 2020. The union argues that the increase can be paid on the basis of a royal decree and say this needs to be done urgently as part of the union demands to win back rights cut or reduced during austerity.