Aug. 22, 2019 Health unions were due to meet the government on 23 August to continue negotiations over the current collective agreement and previously agreed pay increases. The unions are threatening strike action if there is not a positive outcome and confirmation that pay increases included in the current collective agreement will be honoured. Pay increases of 3% (in August) for health workers in general and 4% (in October) for staff with diagnostic responsibilities are part of the annex to the collective agreement in force until 31 October. However, the government said it wouldn't confirm the increases, leading to an angry response from the unions and the current negotiations.
Aug. 22, 2019 Public service unions are fighting for better pay from outsourcing companies and to stop further outsourcing. Members of the PCS civil service union are continuing their long-running strike to get outsourcers Aramark and ISS to pay the living wage. They are calling on government intervention to resolve the dispute. Meanwhile health workers in Bradford in the north east are threatening an all-out strike in protest at plans to transfer them to a wholly-owned subsidiary rather than retain them as direct employees of the National Health Service.
Aug. 21, 2019 Three unions - Fagforbundet, NSF and Delta - with a combined total membership of 560000, are joining forces to address the continuing problem of part-time work in health and social care. The unions say that around two-thirds of workers in the sector, employed mainly by municipalities - are on part-time contracts. This is a problem for many workers, making it difficult to make ends meet. The unions argue that the problem has been recognised at national level and some municipalities have taken action but they say the government needs to ensure that municipalities have the funding so that they can offer workers full-time contracts.
Aug. 08, 2019 Nine trade unions organising in the public services - CGT, CFDT, FO, UNSA, FSU, Solidaires, CFE-CGT, CFTC and FA-FP - have stated that they will continue to oppose the measures that are set to be implemented by the law on transforming the public sector that was voted through by the Senate on 23 July. The unions argue that the legislation will make it more difficult for them to protect workers' interests as it will weaken joint administrative committees and abolish committees dealing with health and safety and working conditions. They also warn that it will lead to more temporary employment and limit workers access to permanent contracts or civil service status. The unions are urging the government to engage in a proper process of social dialogue. The nine organisations are due to meet on 5 September to consider their next steps also in regard to pay and pensions.
Aug. 07, 2019 The vpod/ssp public services union has been campaigning since last September for hospital workers who need to change into and out of their uniforms to have this changing time recognised as working time. In the latest development, the management of the Limmattal hospital in Zürich has refused to recognise changing time as such but has guaranteed one of two 15-minute break periods that it had not previously endorsed. In the meantime the vpod is busy using legal means to challenge other hospitals for unpaid wages for changing time.
Aug. 07, 2019 Health support workers, members of the SIPTU services union, will be balloted over a Labour Court recommendation that could see them getting pay increases of between 6% and 13% as a result of job evaluation. The union organised strike action in June as the government had failed to take action to implement the job evaluation results (epsucob@NEWS no.12). The court has also recommended a timetable to ensure that job evaluations are carried out for staff who have not already gone through the process.
Aug. 06, 2019 The Frente Comum group of public service unions has set out its key demands for negotiations next year, many of which focus on restoring pay and benefits cut as a result of austerity. The unions want a minimum wage of EUR 850 a month. They also want to see an unfreezing of career progression, reinstatement of cuts to overtime and other measures relating to annual leave, pensions, compensation for occupational accidents and diseases and action on precarious employment. A complete return to the 35-hour week for all public service workers also remains a central demand.
Jul. 25, 2019 Following the national strike and day of action on 2 July, emergency service workers are continuing to take action in many parts of the country. The protests and strikes are over pay and working conditions and the urgent need to address understaffing and excessive workloads that are leading to burnout and stress. Repeated and all-out strikes are taking place in Aveyron, Chambery-Aix, Redon, Perpignan and the Loire region among others. Further national action is planned for September.
Jul. 25, 2019 The CNE trade union has been organising regular actions each Tuesday to highlight the pressure of work, understaffing and poor pay and conditions in hospitals, care homes and other health and social service institutions. It plans to resume the actions in September and has criticised hospital employers for failing to engage fully in negotiations to improve pay and working conditions. The CNE highlights in particular the failure of the employers to provide data on a new job and salary classification system that would have allowed an analysis of implementation of the system and discussions about the next phase of implementation.
Jul. 25, 2019 After three weeks of selective strike action in hospitals involving several public service unions, the government has used its powers to force an end to the action and refer the matter to a national labour tribunal which will meet in October. The strike was over pensions and ensuring that all hospital workers have a right to a pension from the first Krone earned. The government claimed a threat to health when the unions decided to step up the action. It has intervened in this way in the past, most recently in November 2018 in a dispute involving the NSF nurses' union (see epsucob@NEWS 22, 2018).
Jul. 25, 2019 The vida services union says that urgent action is needed to tackle overwork among midwives. There is a problem of understaffed delivery rooms and increased demands on midwives such as administrative work. The union has taken up the issue in particular at the St.Josef hospital in Vienna where it will be negotiating with management following a meeting of midwives organised by the union. The negotiations will discuss staffing, working time and questions of pay that the union says are crucial to improve recruitment to the job.
Jul. 24, 2019 There have been two important developments covering health workers. The first is a new collective agreement after 10 years covering around 130000 doctors and managers in the national health service. The new agreement includes the EUR 200 a month increase enjoyed by public service workers in general but there are additional benefits for young doctors and additional payments linked to length of service. On-call night payments will increase from EUR 50 to EUR 100 (EUR 120 for emergency workers). There will be a joint initiative on well-being and measures to tackle violence against staff. In a separate development, public service unions have negotiated to ensure that 3000 health researchers on precarious contracts are covered by the main public health collective agreement.
Jul. 11, 2019 The vida and GPA-djp private service trade unions have negotiated a new agreement covering around 600 medical and health emergency staff. Workers in the Vienna region will get a 3.2% increase backdated to 1 February while increases will be set according to the appropriate arrangements in other regions and backdated to 1 January. After five years' service all workers will get an additional day of paid holidays. There is also an increase in the cleaning allowance and a child allowance of at least EUR 15 for each child from 2020.
Jul. 11, 2019 In a recent tripartite meeting the OSZSP health union made the case for increased funding for health and social care and for initiatives to recruit more staff. The prime minister and health minister made claims about the need to focus more spending on investment in health rather than pay and argued that pay rates should only increase by 2-3% and suggested that pay was no longer an issue for many staff. The OSZSP said that a recent survey showed that 75% of health workers saw increased pay as a key factor in retaining workers in the sector. The union also argued that overall health funding was the question and not the allocation of spending between investment and salaries.
Jul. 11, 2019 The FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-FPL public service federations are continuing their campaign to force the AIOP and ARIS private health employer organisations to negotiate a collective agreement 12 years after the last one was signed. The latest initiative follows a meeting with the Conference of Regions and Autonomous Provinces where the unions secured a commitment to push for a change in legislation on the accreditation of private providers that would require them to negotiate a collective agreement with the three recognised trade unions in line with the negotiations in the public sector.