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.
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.