Jul. 28, 2020 A new report on employment security commissioned by the Kommunal municipal services union reveals the extent of temporary and part-time work in health, social care and education. The survey found just under 240,000 workers in these sectors were on fixed-term contracts with 58% of these on the most precarious terms and conditions. Most of these workers want a permanent job. Workers in companies with fewer than 10 employees have weaker employment security and there are 10550 companies in this category operating in health and social care. While 18% of workers in public health and social care are on temporary contracts this rises to 24% in private companies. Overall part-time and fixed-term work are twice as common in health, social care and education as in the economy as a whole.
Jul. 13, 2020 The main municipal unions in the Nordic region - Fagforbundet (Norway), Kommunal (Sweden), JHL (Finland) and FOA (Denmark) - have called on government and municipal employers to work together with unions to tackle the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. They argue that local and regional authorities need the finance to maintain jobs as well as the pay and condition of the municipal workforce and that these will be crucial to the economic recovery. The unions stress above all that austerity cannot be the answer and that the contribution of municipal workers should be recognised with funding for wage settlements and the services they provide.
Jul. 13, 2020 Vision and Kommunal, the trade unions representing workers and managers in eldercare, have issued a joint call for action on working conditions and work organisation to address the long-standing problems in the sector that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis. The unions underline the importance of continuity of care that they say is best delivered through a stable base of long-term and full-time employment. They have set a target of increasing the proportion of permanent employees to 90 percent. They also want to see a benchmark of 25 employees per manager in the elderly care to help improve the working environment along with collaboration to create a safe and healthy work environment.
Jul. 01, 2020 The Kommunal municipal services union has been successful in its call for an investigation of the Work Environment Authority (WEA) (see EPSU CB News No.9, May 2020). The union made the application to the parliamentary ombudsman on the basis that the WEA had failed to fully address issues related to the inadequate provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). The union argued that the authority had consulted more with employers than the union. Meanwhile Kommunal has also been successful in getting changes to the Public Health Agency's guidance on PPE use in social care, making clear that workers should have the right to face masks and visors rather than relying on local risk assessments to determine usage.
Jun. 18, 2020 Kommunal, the municipal workers' union, has negotiated an agreement with the SKR local and regional government employers' organisation to provide for more staff and training in eldercare. The government has provided an additional SEK 2.2 billion (EUR 210 million) in 2020 and 2021 to cover the extra staffing. Kommunal wants to ensure that workers are taken on on full-time contracts and training takes place during paid working time and is line with the existing training provision for nursing assistants and nurses.
Jun. 05, 2020 All three trade union confederations - LO, SACO and TCO - are highly critical of proposals emerging from a review of employment security legislation. The review is supported by the Centre and Liberal Party members of the government coalition but face criticism from labour minister, Eva Nordmark. The response from Nordmark was to stress that it is up to trade unions and employers to negotiate on the issue and the proposals go too far in the direction of the employers. Similar points are made by the confederations who say that it undermines employment security for workers in small firms and that more and better jobs are not delivered by making it easier to sack workers. The LO confederation will be launching an online petition and publicity campaign against the proposals.
Jun. 05, 2020 Municipal services union Kommunal reveals that 16% of workers in eldercare still don't have access to personal protective equipment (PPE). Although this figure has fallen from 37%, the union says that is still unacceptable and is also concerned that around a fifth of workers say that their workplaces are not following proper hygiene practices. Eldercare workers are not just calling for more PPE but also increased staffing to help deal with the impact of the pandemic which the union argues is far from over.
May. 05, 2020 Kommunal, the municipal workers' union, has referred the Work Environment Authority to the parliamentary ombudsman over failures in the way it has dealt with COVID-19. The union considers that the Authority which is responsible for reducing workplace risks and improving the work environment, has failed to properly address issues concerning recommendations on the level provision of personal protective equipment, consulting only with the SKR municipal employers' organisation and not listening to the views of Kommunal or other trade unions. Kommunal also believes that the Authority breached its mandate by deleting an expert opinion on the level of provision of PPE, so violating freedom of information regulations.
Apr. 23, 2020 Health workers in Stockholm are benefitting from the implementation of an agreement on emergency situations that provides for a 120% additional payment on top of normal pay. The agreement was negotiated by several unions last year mainly in response to the spate of major forest fires. At the beginning of the month the SKR municipal employers' organisation agreed that the critical situation arising from COVID-19 met the criteria to activate the agreement in Stockholm.The agreement provides for longer working hours and different rules on rest periods. If emergency overtime is worked then the additional payment rises to 150%.
Jan. 21, 2020 Unions in Norway and Sweden have put the focus on green issues in their current and planned negotiations with church employers. In Norway there is a commitment to address sustainability issues with the Norwegian church in an agreement that also includes measures to ensure a working environment that promotes health and also initiatives to reduce sickness absence. Meanwhile, in Sweden upcoming negotiations will include green measures along with a focus on a clearer process of pay determination and increased control over working time to improve work-life balance.
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. 06, 2019 Local government unions have negotiated a new agreement with the SKR and Sobona employer organisations that will deliver greater employment security for workers. The agreement will take effect on 1 May 2020 and will mean early identification of workers impacted by restructuring and who need training to help assist in gaining new skills and adapting to new jobs. The unions see this as key to avoiding lay-offs and essential for the rapid changes that are taking place in the labour market. Fixed-term workers will be covered by the agreement as will those off sick or going through rehabilitation.
Oct. 24, 2019 The Kommunal municipal workers' union has decided not to follow the wage coordination policy agreed by the LO trade union confederation. The union says that urgent action is needed to tackle staff shortages in childcare, health and other welfare services and that if it followed the LO target then workers in those sectors would only get an extra SEK 17 (EUR1.60). For Kommunal it is also important to address low pay in sectors dominated by women and the LO guideline would reduce the gender pay gap by only 0.1%.
Jul. 11, 2019 As reported by the newsletter in March, the municipal workers' union Kommunal has been negotiating a new agreement with the SKL employers' organisation to cover work during major emergencies. This initiative was taken following last summer's spate of forest fires. The agreement was finally signed at the end of June. It provides for an additional 120% of pay for each hour worked during the crisis and there is 150% for emergency overtime. There is a special procedure for determining what counts as a crisis. The agreement replaces the requirements of the Working Hours Act and will apply to all workers whether existing municipal employees or those taken on for the emergency.
May. 14, 2019 The Kommunal municipal workers' union has negotiated a new agreement covering part-time firefighters which includes significant improvements in pay and allowances that acknowledge the importance of this group of workers and the massive demands made on them recently as a result of widespread forest fires. There is a 30% increase for those working additional shifts, equivalent to SEK 1475 (EUR 137) a week. There is also extra pay for those on call during summer months and higher pay for longer shifts. There is also 5% addition on the extra payment for their first hour of work.