Sep. 11, 2020 The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread use of short-time working in response has rekindled the debate about permanent shifts to shorter working hours. Germany's biggest engineering union, IG Metall, has put forward ideas about a move to a 32-hour week and this had been taken up by the CGT trade union confederation in France which has had a 32-hour-week policy for some time. In the UK, the Autonomy research organisation has proposed and costed a plan for the public sector to take the lead and move to a 32-hour week without loss of pay.
Sep. 10, 2020 Public services union UNISON has called for a £2000 a year pay rise for all health workers in recognition of their continuing work and commitment in the fight against COVID-19. The union underlines the importance of giving health workers a boost before the end of the year particularly as the virus is in resurgence. The RCN nursing union has called for a 12.5% increase for nursing staff in an important step to help address the staffing crisis, in recognition of their skills and to compensate for cost of living increases. The GMB general union, meanwhile, is calling for a 15% pay increase again to restore purchasing power and help reduce the estimated 100000 vacancies across healthcare.
Aug. 27, 2020 Energy unions are facing challenges on several fronts. Leading gas company Centrica has faced major criticism from unions - GMB, UNISON, Unite and Prospect - when it followed up an announcement of 5000 job cuts with a plan to sack and re-hire 20000 staff on worse terms and conditions. The GMB union has already had a consultative ballot which showed 95% support for strike action and so a formal ballot will be undertaken. Meanwhile the GMB members at Northern Gas Networks have voted 98% in favour of industrial action on pay while Unite members at the Drax energy company have been balloted over action in protest at the company's plans to make 230 workers redundant despite a no-redundancy pledge last year.
Jul. 27, 2020 Around 900000 out of the total of 4.4 million public sector workers will see pay increases this year of between 2% and 3.1%. This is ahead of the current inflation rate of 0.8%. While unions have welcomed the increases they have highlighted the fact that many workers have lost out after 10 years of pay freezes or below-inflation rises. The latest pay increases cover the armed forces, judiciary and senior civil servants (2%), police and prison staff in England and Wales (2.5%), doctors and dentists (2.8%) and teachers in England (3.1%). Health unions have called for early negotiations for the next pay increase which is due in 2021 while most social care workers are excluded as they are employed by private companies. Workers in local government are currently voting on whether to accept a 2.75% increase. Unions fear that the government is already looking for more pay restraint in future negotiations.
Jul. 10, 2020 Fourteen trade unions that organise workers right across the National Health Service have sent joint letters to the prime minister and chancellor (finance minister) calling for quick action to agree a pay rise for all health workers. The unions argue that the public want to see health workers properly valued and rewarded and that a decent pay rise would be a step in the right direction. The unions don't want a simple COVID-19 bonus but a pay rise that will help retain and recruit staff and address the falling purchasing power of health workers who have seen pay frozen or capped below inflation over the past 10 years. The unions are also clear that all support staff should be covered as well as those employed by private contractors.
Jul. 01, 2020 The FBU firefighters' union has expressed disappointment that the employers' organisation has failed to provide a response to the union's pay claim that was submitted in early June. The union is looking for an immediate and substantial increase in pay to take account of 10 years of pay freezes and below-inflation increases. Meanwhile, the main civil service union, PCS, has launched a campaign on pay with the aim also of securing a pay increase that will begin to restore pay levels after a similar period when pay has been frozen or kept inflation.
Jun. 19, 2020 The UNISON public services union has written to the health minister and launched a campaign calling for full pay for carers who are sick or have to self-isolate in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in care homes or among those receiving home care. The vast majority of carers are low-paid and get basic sick pay of only £95 a week (EUR 105) which makes it impossible to provide for a family and puts pressure on the carer to stay at work. UNISON has welcomed £600 million (EUR 665m) of extra funding for the sector but is concerned this will end up in the coffers of private care companies with no guarantees that their employees will benefit
Jun. 05, 2020 Fifteen health trade unions, including six EPSU affiliates, have come together to agree a proposal that will help ensure that all health workers in England are properly compensated for the overtime they work. Measures to ensure proper payment for every hour worked for all NHS staff – including those on higher grades not usually able to claim overtime – is contained in a nine-point blueprint that should be applied at local level. The unions see this as important in guaranteeing that workers are properly rewarded for their extra efforts in responding to the pandemic in advance of the main negotiations on pay that will start in the summer.
Jun. 03, 2020 Public service union UNISON reports that the Medirest private company will give its 2,200 staff, who provide cleaning, portering and catering services in NHS hospitals across England, will see their pay increase by an average of 5% from the beginning of June. The lowest pay rate will rise from £8.75 (EUR 9.80) to £9.21 (EUR 10.30) an hour, bringing it in line with the minimum rate for directly employed health workers.
May. 08, 2020 The Welsh government has said that all care workers will get a £500 (EUR 570) bonus in recognition of the work they have been doing during the COVID-19 crisis. Trade unions have welcomed the payment which will go to all carers whether employed by local authorities, non-profit providers or private companies. Meanwhile, local government employers have said that a 2.75% pay rise is their final offer but that they will approach central government for more funding for next year. The largest local government union, UNISON, wants a joint approach to central government and will only consult members on the 2.75% offer once it is fully informed about the employers’ funding demands for next year. Non-uniformed police staff are also in negotiations and the main claims is for an increase of 6.5% or £1200 (EUR 1370) a year, whichever is higher.
Apr. 24, 2020 The UNISON, Unite and GMB public service unions have called on the government to increase funding for local government to cover a higher pay rise for council workers in England and Wales. The unions are pushing for a 10% pay rise to begin to address the 20% fall in pay in real terms in recent years but employers have so far offered only 2.7% for 2020-21. The unions argue that it is important to recognise the role that many of these workers have played during the current crisis.
Apr. 09, 2020 Seven trade union organisations have called on the government to urgently address the critical lack of personal protective equipment in health and social care. The unions also raise serious concerns about the threats of disciplinary action against workers who refuse to work in dangerous situations or who want to talk publicly about the lack of equipment. They want the government to work with the unions to tackle the crisis and to do this it needs to guarantee transparency on procurement, distribution, timescales and exactly how and when workers can expect to get the protection they need and deserve. Unions have also raised concerns that PPE supply to care homes is still inadequate following a government announcement that 8 million items had been distributed to the sector. Unions have also approached the government to launch a coordinated effort to use more manufacturing capacity to produce PPE.
Mar. 05, 2020 The UNISON, Unite and RCN health trade unions have voted to approve a new agreement on pay and staffing in Northern Ireland. The three unions were involved in various forms of industrial action at the end of last year, including the first full strike action in the RCN's history. The unions now have agreement that pay rates in Northern Ireland will be increased to be in line with those in England and measures will be discussed to increase staffing. A fourth union NIPSA did not support the pay deal but recognises that there was a majority vote in favour. In the meantime it is continuing its campaign around staffing levels, particularly in social services.