Aug. 21, 2019 Seven trade union organisations, including the CGT, CFDT, FO and UNSA, representing 85% of all firefighters have been taking strike action to demand improvements in pay and for a significant increase in jobs. The joint actions began in June and are running until the end of August. The unions want to see the withdrawal of legislation on public service reform and a number of other measures to improve pay, health and safety, pensions and trade union rights. A key demand is an increase in recruitment on statutory conditions. There are 40000 professional firefighters. This is the same number as in 2009 but callouts have increased by 15% since then.
Jul. 25, 2019 The Frente Comum group of public service unions has criticised the government for failing to respect existing collective bargaining arrangements in the public sector. The government has put forward reforms to public sector pensions without going through the proper procedure for consultation. Instead of negotiating directly with public sector unions the government will use a social dialogue forum that includes private sector employers. The Frente Comum unions are concerned about the impact of the proposed pension reforms which could reduce rights for workers to retire from 60 with 40 years' service, for example.
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. 11, 2019 Employees of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and a number of other international bodies, including NATO and the Council of Europe, joined a protest in Paris on 2 July in opposition to threats to change pension arrangements. The Member Countries of the Coordination System are calling for changes to the CPS pension scheme that was closed 17 years ago. This could involve raising the age of pension entitlement; adjusting pensions to inflation and not to salaries; and removing entitlement to the education allowance for pensioners. The OECD staff association and other union organisations are concerned that if the changes are pushed through there would even be a risk of further cuts.
Jun. 21, 2019 Members of the FNV trade union voted 73% in favour of a new pensions agreement that slows down the increase in retirement age and allows for faster indexation of pensions. The retirement age will be set at 66 and four months and will rise more slowly. The agreement also takes account of the need for early retirement for arduous work and provides opportunities for the self-employed to access the scheme.
Jun. 21, 2019 The Histadrut trade union organisation is planning to call a strike of teachers, government workers and health employees if the government goes ahead with a plan to cut pension payments. Hundreds of thousands of workers could be affected by the proposed cut of 1.259%. Histadrut has called for a six-month delay but this has not been granted and the union expects that the strike action will go ahead.
May. 29, 2019 Just over 300 members of the Fagforbundet and FO health and welfare trade unions in three hospitals began strike action on 29 May in protest at unfair pension arrangements. The unions, among several coordinated by the LO confederation in its LO Stat group, are claiming full pension rights from day one and from the first Krone earnt in line with the arrangements in the municipal sector. At the moment employees working less than 20% of normal full-time hours are not able to build up pension rights. The unions point out that this is clearly gender discrimination as 75% of those affected are women. The unions estimate that the cost of providing pensions to this group of workers is only around 0.1% of the total hospital pay bill.
May. 28, 2019 In 2016 unions reluctantly negotiated a competitiveness pact that involved an additional 24 hours' work a year with no extra pay, a 30% cut in holiday pay for public sector workers and a transfer of pension contributions from employers to employees. In anticipation of the next bargaining round some unions have already confirmed that they want the additional hours to be cut. Unions are particularly unhappy that while workers saw an increase in working time and an effective cut in take-home pay to deliver the pact, the employers failed to deliver on their side of the bargaining with more investment.
May. 16, 2019 Local government union STAL and other unions in the public sector Frente Comum took part in a major national demonstration on 10 May as part of their long-running campaign to improve pay and working conditions in the public services and reverse the cuts imposed as part of austerity measures. Along with higher pay and better pensions, the unions want to see clear commitments to improve career progression and action on working time.
May. 16, 2019 The FNV and other trade union organisations are mobilising for a major national demonstration over pensions and retirement on 29 May. They have three key demands - to keep the current retirement age of 66 and stop the proposed increase to 67, to ensure pensions are indexed to protect against inflation for both current and future pensioners and to ensure everyone can build up a pension, whether on a permanent or temporary contract or self-employed. Transport workers across much of the country will also be taking strike action on 28 May in support of these demands.
May. 14, 2019 A joint campaign of the three main trade union confederations has been successful in getting support for a referendum to undo legal changes that increased the retirement age to 67. The unions needed to reach a target of 373,568 signatures (10% of registered voters) in a two-week campaign that ended on 11 May. They easily passed the threshold, amassing 600,000 signatures and its now up to the government to respond and confirm that it will organise the referendum.
May. 14, 2019
The three main Croatian trade union confederations are celebrating their success in getting 600,000 citizens to sign a petition calling for a referendum on pensions and retirement.
Apr. 17, 2019 Unions have reacted negatively to new government proposals for economic transformation. The unions are particularly concerned about the possbility of changes to severance payments which they see as a fundamental employment right especially where workers experience widespread restructuring and precarious employment conditions. The unions are also worried about plans to give a greater role to private pensions and about possible changes to taxation. While proposals for a reduction in indirect taxation might be welcome the unions are unhappy that the measures could further reduce the contribution of corporate tax to public finances which have already been in steady decline over the past 10 years.
Apr. 17, 2019 The STAL and STML unions representing firefighters organised a protest in Lisbon on 16 April outside the Interior Ministry. The main concerns for the unions are about government proposals to reform the career structure for firefighters and to reduce retirement benefits. Other issues relate to payments for oncall time, 12-hour shifts and implementation of a pay structure that the two unions negotiated with the ministry. The unions have been frustrated by the government's reluctance to negotiate, delaying and then postponing a meeting due on 2 April.
Apr. 17, 2019 As reported in epsucob@NEWS 05 in March, community employment advisors are campaigning to secure pension rights that should have been provided for them 11 years ago following a decision by the Labour Court. With no action from the government the workers are now planning five days of strike action to increase the pressure on the government to resolve the dispute.