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.
Apr. 16, 2019 Three trade union confederations have come together to launch a campaign to secure a referendum with the aim of reversing changes to the retirement age. The unions want to retain 65 as the normal retirement age but the government has already put in place legislation to increase it to 67 and more recently to bring forward the date of full implementation. If the unions can get the support of 10% of the electorate then the government will have to organise a referendum. EPSU sent a message of support to the unions.
Mar. 15, 2019 The health conference of the vpod public service union has called for action to tackle the stress, long working hours, involuntary part-time work and low pay in the sector which is part of the persistent discrimination faced by women workers. The union wants to see a revaluation of pay of health and care jobs to recognise the arduousness and increased responsibilities of many occupations. Vpod is also calling for major improvements to work-life balance, reductions in working time, better shift planning, possibilities for retirement from 60 and provision of necessary training. The union says that urgent action is needed to address staff shortages.
Mar. 14, 2019 The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have finally negotiated a new agreement covering 40000 workers in the central state administration. This comes three years after the last agreement and failure of the previous government to negotiate a deal. The new agreement will mean an overall increase of 14% for the lowest paid covering the three years 2018-2020. There are also measures to clarify job classifications and relate them more closely to educational qualifications. The unions are also pleased to include for the first time provisions to allow workers aged 55 and over to opt for partial early retirement. Other elements cover professional career development, mobility, complementary pay and the possibility of change of status where responsibilities are more in line with the work of a civil servant.
Feb. 27, 2019 The Forsa and SIPTU public services organised strike action on 18 February involving their members who work as community employment supervisors. These workers are responsible for running schemes to help the long-term unemployed and disadvantaged workers to get into regular employment. In 2009 the Labour Court ruled that they should be provided with a pension scheme but no government has taken action since then. The unions are calling on the government to act swiftly to provide supervisors with pension benefits as hundreds have been forced to retire on only the basic state pension.
Feb. 15, 2019 The general strike on 13 February called by the three trade union confederations was strongly supported across the country. One of the main aims of the strike was to put pressure on the employers to come up with a better pay offer in the national cross-sector negotiations. However, the unions had a broader list of demands that also covered young workers, equality, pensions, public services, poverty and tax justice.
Feb. 14, 2019 Workers at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, employed by the Aramark and Engie outsourcers, went on strike on 14 February in protest at low pay. Many of the cleaners, caterers, security and portering staff are on the official minimum wage (GBP 7.83 (EUR 8.90) for those aged 25 and over) but are demanding the unofficial living wage (GBP 10.55 an hour, EUR 12.00). Meanwhile, workers at the Historic Royal Palaces, including the Tower of London, took strike action on 6 February in protest at planned cuts to their pension scheme. The workers, members of the PCS and GMB trade unions, are planning further action on 16 and 21 February.
Jan. 29, 2019 The three main trade union confederations - ACV/CSC, FGTB/ABVV, CGLSB/ACLVB - have called a general strike on 13 February to support their position in the cross-sector negotiations where the employers are refusing to negotiate on key issues and where a government re-calculation of data has produced a negotiating margin of only 0.8% for pay. The unions want to see action on early retirement provision, a minimum pension of EUR 1500 a month, an increase in pay in general as well as a push for a minimum wage of EUR 14 an hour. The other demands include equal pay for equal work and a strengthening of public services and better conditions for public service workers.
Jan. 29, 2019 The Frente Comum and FESAP federations of public service unions are planning national strike action on 15 February with FESAP unions also mobilising on the 14th. The unions have a broad range of demands on the government leading with the priority of ending the long-running pay freeze and tackling low pay. They also want government commitments on pensions, career progression and an end to precarious employment. The unions further underline the need to invest in quality public services rather than undermine them through privatisation.
Jan. 29, 2019 The main FNV trade union is linking up with the CNV and VCP confederations to launch a cross-sector campaign on pensions. The plan is for workplace meetings across the country in the lead up to a national demonstration on 18 March. The unions want to see a freeze in pension age and no automatic link to increases in life expectancy. They are also calling for indexation to protect pensions from erosion by inflation and rules to ensure that all workers can build up pension entitlement to protect freelancers and those on precarious contracts, particularly younger workers.
Jan. 03, 2019 Sixteen trade unions are working together in a campaign against the "slave law" that will see major changes to rules on working time, with overtime limits increased from 250 hours to 400 hours a year. A national demonstration was organised on 8 December and EPSU sent a message of support. A further national protest is planned for 5 January, with support also coming from civil society organisations. The unions have a range of demands including withdrawal of the overtime proposals, a pay rise for public sector workers, changes to the strike law and improvements to pensions.
Jan. 03, 2019 A statute published last month confirms the pay increases that will be implemented this year for all public sector workers as part of a three-year package that was negotiated with unions last year. Along with a basic increase of 2.25% this January, there will be an additional 0.25% (0.3% if there is a budget surplus in 2018) and a further 0.25% in July if economic growth is 2.5% or more. Unions will be looking for progress on other key demands when they meet the government later this month. In particular, they want to see an increase in public sector employment and an end to restrictions on recruitment. They are also calling for negotiations, without conditions, on working time, early retirement and the restoration of other rights lost or worsened by austerity measures.
Jan. 03, 2019 Firefighters, members of the STAL and STML trade unions, took strike action from 18 December to 2 January in protest at government plans to change the statutes covering their pay, retirement and other conditions. The unions not only reject the proposed changes but are angry that the government aimed to implement them without any consultation or negotiation with the unions. The unions have made a series of demands related to protecting basic pay and ensuring appropriate payments for on-call and overtime work as well as allowances for dangerous and arduous conditions. They are also seeking improvements in career progression, support for firefighters injured at work and better training,
Dec. 03, 2018 The STAL and STML trade unions that represent firefighters organised a national protest in Lisbon on 3 December to challenge the government over changes to the statutes that regulate pay and conditions in the sector. The trade unions had already registered their anger with the government over its failure to negotiate with them. The government did agree to meet the unions but they rejected its proposals for change because they threatened to undermine firefighters' pay, pensions and career progression.