Social Dialogue and Staff Shortages on the agenda of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee in the Hospital and Health Sector
Almost 40 participants from EU and non EU countries, including Norway and the UK, exchanged information and views on the situation of workers and employers in their countries and on the European level.
National industrial action across hospitals
The FNV and NU’91 unions have called a national day of industrial action across the hospital sector on 16 March when only a Sunday service will be provided. The unions are demanding a 10% pay increase in response to the surge in the cost of living and as one measure to help deal with the staffing crisis. The NU’91 also is also organising a broader campaign on the crisis in care with a demonstration in Utrecht on 9 March where it encouraged everyone to wear black and then to back its “every Tuesday in black” campaign.
National strike across central government
The PCS civil service union has been running a targeted campaign of industrial action to support its claim for higher pay and in defence of pensions and jobs. A nationwide action was organised on 1 March and then again on 15 March another national strike took place to coincide with the announcement of the government’s budget. The campaign of industrial action continues with various government agencies targeted with a series of one- and two-day strikes until the end of March. Meanwhile, some health service unions have suspended strike action during talks with the government over pay. However
Health workers join action in federal and local government
Health workers were involved in warning strikes across the country on 14 and 15 March as the ver.di trade union builds support for its negotiations covering 2.5 million workers in federal and local government. The union is seeking a pay rise of 10.5% with a minimum increase of €500 a month. There was also action by workers in early years education and other social services to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March.
Nurses’ union could take action on safe staffing levels
The INMO nurses’ union is to ballot intensive care unit nurses at University Hospital Limerick in pursuance of safe staffing, having exhausted local negotiations to resolve the problem. The union argues that the lack of consistent safe staffing is having a detrimental impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of workers and patients. This follows INMO’s executive council decision in February to sanction a campaign of industrial action in response to members reporting that unsafe staffing is the norm in many hospitals. The union has also called on the Department of Health and the Health
Union delivers higher pay increases for health workers
After lengthy negotiations the LVSADA health workers’ union has secured an increase to the pay rises offered by the ministry of health. The agreement stipulates that the average monthly salary for medical practitioners will be increased by €120 from 1 April which equates to 6.1%, that is 2.4% higher than the initial offer. Nurses, midwives, physician assistants will see a 10.1% increase (an improvement of 3.9% on the initial offer) and junior staff, including nursing assistants, will benefit from a 16.1% pay rise (an improvement of 6.3%).
Two-year pay deals in municipalities, health, social care and churches
The JHL, JYTY, SuPer and TEHY have negotiated new two-year agreements on pay covering workers in municipalities and health and welfare services. The agreements include both general and local elements to the pay increases. For municipal workers the combined increases will mean rises of 4.1% in 2023 (plus a €467 lump sum) and 4.0% in 2024. There will be higher increases for health workers who are set to benefit from various elements that go towards a 6.7% increase in 2023 (plus a €467 lump sum) and 6.5% in 2024. Meanwhile, negotiations involving JHL and JYTY will mean that church employees will
Strike in private hospitals and across public services
Nurses in Portugal have been involved in strike action in both private and public sectors. The SEP trade union organised a one-day strike on 16 March over pay, hours and other conditions in the private sector and it joined a larger strike across public services on 17 March with similar demands and involving other public service trade unions, including STAL.
Higher pay and shorter hours across public services
After seven years with no update to the main public sector framework agreement the Histradut trade union organisation reports that negotiations have delivered a salary increase of 11% over the next four years up to April 2027 along with a lump sum of NIS 6,000 (€1575) designed to help cope with the cost of living. Workers will get a two-hour cut in working week from 42 to 41 hours in June 2023 and from 41 to 40 hours in January 2025. There will also be special salary adjustments for a range of occupations, particularly in health and social care. Meanwhile, the union has negotiated an agreement
Health workers plan action while municipal deal agreed
Workers in over 50 hospitals are set to take part in industrial action this month as unions, including the FNV and NU’91, put pressure on the employers FBZ employers’ organisation to come up with a decent pay offer. The unions will be organising a “Sunday service” on the day of protest in support of their claim for a 10% increase for the 200,000 employees in the sector. They are also calling for improved travel allowances and greater control over work schedules. Meanwhile, following a campaign of strike action in local government, the FNV has agreed a pay rise for the 180,000 workers in the
Strike campaign to be stepped up in federal and local government
The ver.di trade union is organising further warning strikes following what it regards as a wholly inadequate pay offer from employers in federal and local government. The union is seeking a 10.5% pay increase with a minimum of €500 a month for the 2.5 million workers covered by the agreement. The employers, however, have offered only 3% by the end of 2023 and 2% in mid-2024 in what would be a 27-month agreement. There would also be lump sum payments of €1000 and €1500. The next steps in the campaign of warning strikes involve trainees and local transport workers. The third round of bargaining
Health and central government strikes continue
The government has initiated pay talks with the RCN nursing union in England which has suspended strike action for the time being. However, the government has not engaged with other health unions that are currently involved in industrial action. Members of the UNISON trade union across the ambulance service and other parts of the health service are taking action on 8 March, including several workplaces where a re-ballot of members delivered the required majority for strike action. Health workers have also been taking action in Northern Ireland. Ambulance workers represented by the GMB union
Health union in national protest
The POEDHN health workers’ union, supported by the ADEDY public sector trade union confederation, organised a national demonstration on 22 February with calls for urgent action on health service funding. The union is demanding increased staffing and measures to address the widespread use of precarious contracts across the health service. It is also continuing to campaign for better pay and conditions with many health workers facing low pay, often little more than the minimum wage. This is a long-term legacy of austerity with pay cuts imposed in 2009 and pay frozen since 2015.