Sep. 11, 2020 The KTAMS civil service union is taking widespread industrial action (excluding hospitals) over the government's failure to ensure safety in workplaces in response to the continuing threat of the COVID-19 virus. The union action began on 10 September but continued as the government didn't respond to the union's demands.
Sep. 11, 2020 The HK Kommunal local government union is consulting members for their proposals on what should be included in the upcoming public sector negotiations. Normally the union organises workplace visits across the country, but this year there an online survey because of the continuing impact of COVID-19. HK Kommunal underlines the importance of the consultation and being able to present a series of demands that have wide support across the membership. There had been some discussion about postponing negotiations and extending agreements for a year but this is not confirmed and so consultations continue and negotiations are likely to start early in 2021 with current agreements due to expire in March.
Sep. 10, 2020 The SIPTU union has called on the government to set a budget that includes a guaranteed living wage for all childcare workers along with a sick pay scheme. The living wage is €12.30 an hour while the average wage in the sector is €11.46 and the union argues that higher pay will be important in reducing the 40% staff turnover among childcare workers. SIPTU also points out that 79% of childcare workers don't have a sick pay scheme and this is inhibiting the sector's response to ensuring safe workplaces for both workers and children.
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.
Sep. 10, 2020 Negotiations are underway in local government and while unions are aiming for a real pay increase they are also setting their sights on improvements in other working conditions. They want more investment in competence development and training during working time. However, a key demand is for more full-time work. Around two thirds of health and social care workers and 40% of those in childcare and education work part-time. Unions argue that this does not make the sector attractive and that full-time hours are needed to deliver decent pay. They also point to the benefits to the quality of services and health and safety and particularly in the current situation the increase in infection control that would come from fewer shift changes.
Sep. 09, 2020 In anticipation of annual pay negotiations, the GÖD public service union has written to the government calling for sustained, real increases in pay and allowances for all public sector workers. The union argues that public employees have faced increasingly difficult working conditions as they have responded to the pandemic and its knock-on effects on employment and the economy by maintaining quality public services. The union points out the importance of public services to support Austria as a successful international economy and that a pay rise for the public sector would make an important contribution to domestic demand and economic recovery. The current pay agreement runs until the end of December this year and the GÖD wants a prompt start to the negotiations to ensure that pay increases apply from 1 January 2021.
Sep. 09, 2020 A survey of 1600 care workers by the FNV trade union has revealed disturbing levels of concern about safety, overwork and low pay. Some 70% of workers feel unsafe because government measures to tackle the pandemic are not properly enforced and only 25% say they have adequate personal protective equipment for a second wave. Three in four say they have a high or very high workload and 90% feel they are not appreciated by government or politicians. Seven in 10 want a structural pay increase and not a corona bonus payment. They say this is essential to make the sector more protective and address the 80000 vacancies that have occurred over the last two years. This situation is set to worsen as one in four health workers are thinking of quitting. The survey was published as part of the FNV's week of campaigning on health and social care and the impact of the pandemic.
Aug. 27, 2020 Trade unions, employers and the government have signed a major agreement which sets out a range of measures for the coming two years. These cover green and energy issues as well as plans to increase unemployment benefit and pensions. Health workers dealing with COVID-19 will see a 30% increase on pay for the period August-December this year, around 6000 employees will benefit. There is also additional funding for municipalities to ensure that the collective agreement covering childcare nurses is fully implemented. This will particularly affect workers in small towns guaranteeing that they receive the minimum rate. The tripartite agreement also sees moves towards ratification of ILO Convention 154 on promoting collective bargaining and initial steps to ratify Convention 151 on labour relations in public services. This could be an important development as currently civil servants don't have the right to collective bargaining.
Aug. 27, 2020 The FNV trade union is involved in two major campaigns. The first, running from 1-5 September, is a nationwide action across health and social care in response to COVID-19. The union wants to see proper recognition of the role played by health and social care workers and is calling for better pay and working conditions, reduced workloads and more autonomy for workers. The FNV is underlining the importance of preparing for a second wave of the pandemic and argues that action is needed to make the health and care sectors more attractive to increase recruitment. Meanwhile, the union is running a campaign and petition across local government to establish a EUR 14 an hour minimum wage. Six local authorities have already signed up and the plan is to develop the campaign over the next six months in the lead up to the general election in March next year.
Aug. 26, 2020 The FeSP-UGT public service federations and two federations from the CCOO confederation have joined with the Aeste and Asade employer organisations to draft an emergency plan for residential and home care services. The objective is to prevent any recurrence of the massive impact of COVID-19 on the sector both in terms of service users and workers. The unions and employers underline the role of government and the importance of increased funding, noting that the sector has seen EUR 5.9 billion worth of cuts since 2012. The joint plan emphasises the importance of applying collective agreements and securing better pay and working conditions for the 500000+ mainly women workers in the sector.
Jul. 28, 2020 National trade union confederations are keeping the ETUC up-to-date with what trade unions and labour inspectorates are doing to ensure safety at the workplace in response to COVID-19 and, in particular, in relation to the return to work. In Austria, 20% of inspected workplaces have been told to improve their safety procedures while the Danish FH confederation reports some problems in private clinics and healthcare and it has taken action to ensure that health and social care facilities are fully part of the inspection regime. In Ireland more inspectors have been taken on to cope with increased demands while in Sweden and the UK unions have been involved in walkouts when faced with workplaces that don't meet the new safety standards. The other confederations reporting to the ETUC so far are ZSSS in Slovenia and the UGT in Spain. The information is being regularly updated.
Jul. 28, 2020 Data from the Wage Indicator pay database covering five countries reveals that many of the key workers who have been on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 are on below)average wages. The research looked at nine jobs in childcare, call centres, retail, nursing, admin, logistics, warehouses and transport in the UK, German, Netherlands, France and Sweden. In the UK all occupations fell below the national average wage while in Germany it was all but one and in the Netherlands all but two. The situation for these workers was better in France and Sweden.