Oct. 10, 2018 Unions across Europe sent their solidarity messages to members of ver.di who organised a day of action against CELENUS, the German subsidiary of the ORPEA social care multinational. The protest in Berlin on 28 September follows months of protests and strike action as ver.di members attempt to secure their trade union rights and right to organise and the reinstatement of sacked activists. The union is also fighting for demands for safe staffing levels and decent pay and conditions.
Sep. 14, 2018 EPSU and affiliates in the social services sector across Europe have been sending solidarity messages to colleagues at the Celenus clinic in Germany. The clinic is part of the French multinational Orpea which runs residential homes and provides care services. The solidarity will be an encouragement to members of the ver.di services union as they continue to put pressure on the Celenus management to abide by their legal and collective agreement obligations and negotiate a pay increase. The union is also challenging the company over its dismissal of two trade union activists. EPSU affiliates from Austria, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain, where Orpea has subsidiaries, all sent messages of support.
Sep. 13, 2018 A survey by the ver.di services trade union and DGB trade union confederation reveals sharp differences between occupations when it comes to workloads and stress. Four out of five nurses say that they often feel harassed because of excessive workloads. This is higher than the 69% of eldercare workers and well above the 55% registered across all occupations. There are similar differences when it comes to employees saying that have to cut corners on quality to ensure service delivery. This was the case for 49% of nurses, 42% of eldercare workers but only 22% of all occupations. Not surprising then that only 23% of nurses and 20% of eldercare workers can imagine staying to normal retirement age compared to 48% of all workers. Ver.di has called on the government to legislate on safe staffing levels but has rejected the latest proposal on this from the health minister.
Aug. 29, 2018 Health union ver.di has suspended its strike action in university hospitals in Düsseldorf and Essen to allow mediators to help resolve the conflict over workloads and staffing (see previous three issues of epsucob@NEWS). It agreed to the initiative following the intervention of the labour minister of the North Rhine Westfalia region. Earlier in the year ver.di was successful in negotiating a key agreement on staffing and workloads covering hospitals in Freiburg, Heidelburg, Tübingen and Ulm in the Baden-Württemburg region. The agreement set out a procedure for determining staffing levels in different sections and what should be done when staff numbers fell below the agreed quota. It also committed the institutions to create 120 full-time posts between them and established certain basic rules including a minimum of two workers per night shift one of whom should have at least three years' training.
Aug. 17, 2018 EPSU has sent solidarity greetings to members of the ver.di services union who are taking strike action against the Celenus care company, a subsidiary of the French multinational Orpea. The company has sacked worker representatives, has threatened to outsource cleaning jobs and refuses to negotiate a collective agreement.
Aug. 16, 2018
The French multinational company ORPEA specialising in elderly care, psychiatry, rehabilitation, home care and other assistance to dependent people is massively violating trade union rights of workers in the clinics of Celenus, one of its subsidiaries in Germany.
Aug. 15, 2018 Health services union ver.di is considering all-out strike action following the refusal of management at the Düsseldorf and Essen university hospitals to negotiate an agreement to tackle excessive workloads (see two previous editions of epsucob@NEWS). The union had been discussing various measures to tackle staff shortages and overwork and it had welcomed an initiative by the employers to take on 100 extra staff. Further talks were expected but then to ver.di's surprise on 14 August the employers announced that they wouldn't be seeking to negotiate an agreement. Ver.di will continue to press for the negotiations to resume. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Aug. 02, 2018 The trade union-linked research organisation WSI reports that negotiated pay increases across the economy reached 3.1% in the first half of the year, up on the 2.4% recorded in the comparable periods in the last two years. With inflation at 1.7% this means a real increase of 1.4%. The highest increases came in construction (5.2%), metal (4.0%) and the public sector (3.75%), with the last including 4% increases for new starters, lower paid and some specific occupations.
Aug. 01, 2018 Workers at university hospitals in Düsseldorf and Essen, members of the ver.di services union, have resumed their campaign of strike action over workloads. As reported in last month's epsucob@NEWS the union had decided to suspend strike action to allow further negotiations to take place with the employers. However, after four rounds of negotiations the employers failed to come up with any effective proposals to provide extra staff in wards, operating theatres or intensive care and so ver.di decided to lift the suspension of strike action.
Jul. 19, 2018 Strike action by workers at university hospitals in Essen and Düsseldorf in western Germany has helped push employers to the negotiating table to discuss measures to reduce workloads - a longstanding issue that the trade union ver.di is trying to address across the health and social services sectors. The union and the TdL employer organisation have finally agreed on the key points for the negotiations. These include measures to reduce the pressure on staff, future procedures to address staffing requirements and what to do when there is not enough staff, immediate measures to reduce workloads such as taking on more staff and regulations on training quality.
Jun. 28, 2018 Services union ver.di has expressed its regret that a constitutional court ruling on 12 June has confirmed that civil servants do not have the right to strike. Responding to the judgement ver.di executive committee member Wolfgang Pieper argued that it fails to acknowledge the rights to strike and freedom of association that are afforded by the European Convention of Human Rights. The Court ruling is based on the argument that civil servants have a special relationship of trust with the state which on its side has a special duty of care towards civil servants. In the view of the court this relationship would be undermined by the right to strike for civil servants. Pieper points out that unilateral cuts to civil servants' pay and conditions have themselves undermined this relationship and that there is clearly a case to be made for stronger representation and negotiation rights for civil servants.
Jun. 01, 2018 Services union ver.di was finally able to negotiate a new pay agreement with the Vivantes Service company in Berlin after 51 days of strike action. Vivantes Service is part of the Vivantes network of municipal health institutions providing care across the city. The three-year deal provides for increases of 2.1% in 2018, 2.1% in 2019 and 3.5% in 2010. However, in both 2018 and 2019 there are additional increases for the two lowest pay grades meaning that pay for the lowest paid will increase by up to 4% in 2018 and by between 3.2% and 3.5% in 2019. Ver.di's aim is to bring pay and conditions in the company in line with the main public sector agreement and with the current deal most employees will be at 90% of the equivalent public sector pay rates.
May. 17, 2018 In advance of the third round of pay negotiations, a series of warning strikes by employees of the Red Cross have been taking place across the country to show the level of support for a decent pay rise. Public services union ver.di is calling for a pay rise of 7.5% with a minimum increase of EUR 200 a month. So far the employers have only offered a EUR 220 lump sum payment and a 2.4% increase this year with a further rise of 2.2% in July 2019. Ver.di says that the agreement should reflect current pay bargaining trends and should also include provisions on work-life balance and health that would help make working in the sector more attractive. The negotiations cover around 50000 of the Red Cross's 150000 employees who work in hospitals, emergency services, childcare, disability and eldercare and youth and training services.
May. 02, 2018 The ver.di public services union is calling for solidarity for two of its members who have been summarily sacked for their trade union activities. The union has been engaged in a pay dispute with the Celenus group of rehabiliation centres which has around 20 operations in Germany employing over 2100 workers. Carmen Laue and Heike Schmidt, members of the ver.di collective bargaining committee, were sacked for distributing information on strike action. Ver.di has criticised the company for trying to intimidate workers rather than try to resolve the dispute through negotiation. The union is asking for messages of support for the sacked workers and for protest messages to be sent to Celenus management.