Public service unions react with outrage to government austerity plans
Public service unions in the CMKOS confederation, including OSZSP and OSSOO, have reacted angrily to the threat of austerity as further details emerge of the government’s plans to slash public spending. This would include cuts to the public sector pay bill – with workers facing a 5% pay cut in 2024 and having no pay rise awarded so far this year. The unions argue that job cuts and reductions in pay will worsen existing staffing problems in public services and make it even harder to provide quality services. The CMKOS confederation launched a strike alert last month and earlier this month
Justice workers on strike for higher pay
Around 5000 workers in justice authorities and the state attorney’s office are on strike for higher pay. The action, organised by the SDLSN trade union, is in support of a long-standing demand for a €400 pay increase. The union says that the workers have considerable responsibilities and skills but many are salaries of only €600 a month. Rather than negotiate the government took legal action to try to block the strike, however, the attempt was rejected and the Zagreb court confirmed the legality of the action. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Mediation in private social services while personal assistants strike
Members of the JHL trade union who work as personal assistants are continuing their strike action in support of better pay and conditions, following the failure of the employer organisation to come up with an improved pay offer after mediation. The union is pushing for improved pay as a key measure in tackling the high turnover in the sector. Meanwhile, mediation is continuing in the private social services sector following strike action by the TEHY trade union. The union reported that the mediation, begun on 5 June and continuing into 8 June, was making some progress.
Strike continues as justice minister refuses to negotiate
Unions representing workers in the Ministry of Justice, including FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT, are continuing their all-out strike action while the minister refuses to negotiate. The strike committee entered the ministry’s head office determined to demand that negotiations begin and remained there, waiting for a negotiator to arrive. But 24 hours later there had been no progress and the only steps taken by the Ministry was to try to restrict the movements of the committee and confined it to the meeting room with no access to food or drink. The all-out strike began on 30 May following two three-day
Union pushing for pay increases for workers in disability and elder care
The FNV trade union organised a national action on 25 May in their campaign to secure a 10% pay rise in 2023 for workers who provide support to people with disabilities. This would be in addition to the pay increases that apply in the existing agreement that runs to the end of January 2024. However, the VGN employer’s organisation made only slight changes to its previous offer that would provide for a 10% increase but over two years. The FNV argues that the employers have wasted by making very minor changes to the offer. The union is also disappointed that the 4% pay increase the employer
Water workers win pay guarantee while health unions want COVID scheme maintained
A nationwide strike on 7 June by SIPTU members in local authority water services was averted following the decision by the government to guarantee that any workers who do not want to transfer to the new public water company, Uisce Éireann, will have all their earnings protected. The key issue for the union was to secure the guarantee in relation to workers’ allowances and overtime payments they accrue currently as part of their work. Meanwhile, INMO and other health unions have called for the extension of the temporary special leave with pay scheme for workers with COVID to be extended. The
Protests continue against pension reforms
On 6 June trade union organisations, including CGT, CFDT, FO, UNSA and CFE-CGC, along with student groups, again mobilised significant numbers in protests and strikes around the country to try to block the government’s pension reforms. An estimated 900000 people took part in demonstrations in what was the 14th national day of action and marking six months of protests. The focus of the action on 6 June was to put pressure on MPs to vote for a resolution in the national assembly that would revoke the proposal to increase the pension age from 62 to 64. The joint trade union committee is due to
Major strike campaign forces government concessions on pay
The biggest campaign of industrial action in the history of the PCS trade union has won an improved pay offer from the government and concessions on redundancy and job security. After more than 300 days of targeted action and three national strikes, the union is now consulting over the government’s proposal and how it will be implemented at local level. The key elements include: a lump sum of £1500 in recognition of cost of living pressures in 2022-23, an increase in the scope for local bargaining from 2% to 4.5%, with an extra 0.5% for the lowest paid for 2023-24, and a commitment to further
Unions continue to challenge social employer over collective agreement
Trade unions from the three main confederations – CGIL, CISL and UIL – are maintaining their campaign against the Anaste non-profit social services employer organisation for signing an agreement with unrepresentative trade unions. After a mobilisation in March, the unions have been busy lobbying regional authorities to get them to take action and put pressure on Anaste to negotiate with the representative organisations. The Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Piedmont regions have already taken some initiatives in support of the unions.
New two-year agreements in private health and eldercare
Kommunal and the Almega Vårdföretagarna employers’ organisation have negotiated two new collective agreements for employees working in private health and social care and eldercare both of which run from 1 June 2023 to 31 May 2025. In the private health and social care agreement, the minimum wage will be increased by SEK 1350 (€115) in 2023 and by 3.5% in 2024. The general wage rises will be SEK 1156 (€100) in 2023 and SEK 995 (€85) in 2024. The new minimum salary as of 1 December 2023 will be SEK 21297 (€1830) with a rate of SEK 24013 (€2060) for professionals. These rates will rise to SEK
Unions build for 14 June – feminist strike
EPSU affiliate vpod/ssp is mobilising for the annual feminist strike which takes place on 14 June with actions and protests organised across the country. The strike focuses on the continuing inequalities that women face along other forms of discrimination, sexism, sexual harassment and violence. The union highlights data showing an 18% pay gap across the economy with the public sector at 15.1% below the private sector at 19.5% but the figure for the health sector specifically also at 19.5%. Meanwhile women make up two-thirds of the low paid. The figure for part-time work for women – 58% – is
Union members back deal in private health
Members of ver.di employed by the SRH private health company have voted with a 70% approval for the new collective agreement. Workers will get a 5% increase (minimum €150) in on both 1 July 2023 and 1 July 2024. There will also be one-off payments (net for full-time, part-time pro rata) of €1000 in June 2023 and €500 in January 2024. The allowance for trainees will increase by €100 in both 2023 and 2024 and they will get one-off payments of €300 in 2023 and €200 in 2024. Other provisions include extra paid leave for employees with long service.
More support needed for health, care, and public service workers in new Mental Health Strategy
The European Federation of Public Service Trade Unions (EPSU) welcomes the European Commission’s proposed Mental Health Strategy but cautions that the strategy cannot achieve its goals without directly addressing the serious problems already facing the workers who will be instrumental in its implementation.