Early Childhood Education and Care
Early Childhood Education and Care is an important area of social services for EPSU which aims to work together with affiliates, civil society and others to ensure accessible, affordable and quality childcare in Europe. The overwhelmingly female workforce is undervalued and the improving of pay and working conditions across the sector is crucial along with lobbying and campaigning for increased public investment and funding. EPSU has set up an Early Childhood Education and Care network to enable affiliates that organised in the sector to coordinate and exchange information.
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.
EPSU Social Services Working Group meets in Brussels to discuss key issues in the care sector
EPSU Social Services Working Group discussed effective collective bargaining coverage of social care workers in Central and Eastern Europe, the European Commission’s Skills and Talent Package and other topics.
New strike action over pensions in early years education
Following successful strike action in private childcare providers last autumn represented by the PBL employers’ organisation, the Fagforbundet trade union is again calling its members out on strike this time in the companies that are part of the NHO employers’ organisation. The aim is to ensure that workers in NHO companies are entitled to pensions on the same basis as municipal workers and those in the PBL agreement. This means a pension guaranteed for life and on a gender-equal basis and with some protection against the fluctuations of the stock market. Strikes began in a first group of
Action across public services
A one-day strike by ver.di members at airports around the country took place on 17 February partly in support of the negotiations in federal and municipal government and partly in support of separate negotiations in ground handling services and aviation security. On 13 February, ver.di members around the country submitted early years education plans to local archives and museums as a gesture to highlight that they are currently impossible to implement. The union estimates that childcare services currently lack of 170,000 trained staff. Ver.di has also negotiated an agreement on staffing at the
Study reveals critical situation in social services
The public services union ver.di has published early results of a major study of workers in social services that reveals the high risks of burnout and exhaustion faced by many workers in the sector. The survey covers more than 8,200 employees in childcare, disability assistance, youth welfare offices and other areas of social work. It found that since the pandemic many employees often skip the legally required rest breaks and 40% stated that they regularly work three or more hours overtime a week as well. Over 65% of respondents say that they are under time pressure at work, with more than 80%
Union survey reveals staffing challenge in childcare
The SuPer health and care union has published findings from a survey of workers in early years education that found more than half (53%) of respondents felt that the quality of service had deteriorated over the past five years with insufficient staff seen as the main problem. Over 1,000 union members replied to the survey, with 88% saying that they had experienced staff shortages in their work unit on at least a monthly basis. They survey also found that the increase in other tasks meant that workers had less time for direct contact with children. Almost 80% of respondents are considering
Strike action secures better pensions for childcare workers
After a month of strike action, the Fagforbundet, Delta and education trade unions have been able to secure an agreement with the PBL private childcare employers’ organisation on new pension arrangements. Workers will be able to build up a lifetime contractual pension from 1 January 2025 which will be comparable to that available to municipal employees. In addition, the percentage rate paid by employees for their own occupational pension will be reduced from 3% to 2.5% per cent in 2023, then down to 2% per cent when the new scheme is established. The employer's share is increased accordingly.
Childcare employers fail to improve pay offer
After four rounds of negotiations, employers in the childcare sector have failed to improve the pay increase offered at the beginning of November – a 10.15% increase over two years. The FNV trade union argues that this is insufficient to protect against inflation and deliver the level of pay that would help address staff shortages. The union claim is for a 12.9% increase over 12 months. At the beginning of November, the unions launched a petition, now signed over 15,000 times, to make it clear to employers that a decent wage increase is desperately needed to keep the sector attractive to work
Employers block childcare negotiations
The FNV trade union reports that the employers have stalled the negotiations in the childcare sector after three rounds of bargaining. The union says that while the employers acknowledge the major problems of overwork and understaffing they are not willing to take the urgent action required to tackle them. The FNV wants a one-year agreement covering 2023 that will deliver a pay rise compensating for inflation plus €100 a month, a minimum hourly wage of €14.00 and an increase in the end-of-year bonus from 3% to 5% of salary. It has also proposed improvements in work-life balance in relation to
Union calls for higher pay for early years education workers
The SIPTU trade union has called for the pay rates of workers in early years education to keep pace with the Living Wage following the announcement that it is to increase by €0.95, taking it to €13.85 per hour. Childcare professionals secured an historic first pay deal this year, establishing a minimum rate of pay of €13 per hour. This was €0.10 cent over the Living Wage at the time. The union is now calling on the government and employers to deliver a pay increase to reflect the rise in the cost of living otherwise all the work done to address low pay, high staff turnover and the recruitment
More childcare workers join strike on pensions
Following the failure of voluntary mediation between unions and the PBL private childcare employers’ organisation, over 500 more workers were set to join the strike action from Monday 14 November, taking the total to around 3600. The three unions involved – Fagforbundet, Delta and the education union – are calling on PBL to provide a pension scheme comparable to that covering the municipal sector and already applied in other parts of the private sector. If the current PBL scheme is maintained then workers could lose out by between NOK 50,000-70,000 (€4840-6780) a year. Mandatory mediation is
Unions step up childcare strike
The public service unions Fagforbundet and Delta, along with the UF teachers’ union, are stepping up their industrial action to secure better pension rights for workers in private kindergartens. The action began on 17 October when mediation with the PBL employers’ organisation failed. More workers were due to join the action on 27 October which aims to ensure that workers covered by the PBL agreement have the same pension rights as childcare workers in municipalities. The action is getting widespread support, including a delegation from EPSU and its affiliates, and has helped boost union