2018 September epsucob@NEWS 18
IN THIS ISSUE
- France: Hospital workers protest over threat to working time
- Ireland: Union calls for action on childcare workers' pay
- Spain: Prison unions protest over pay and jobs
- Netherlands: Next ambulance workers' campaign to start on 24 September
- Germany: Survey reveals pressure on nurses and eldercare workers
- Czech Republic: Pay rise for public sector workers
- Finland: Union threatens industrial action over dismissal law change
- UK: Prison staff stage nationwide protests
- Portugal: Nurses' unions plan national strike for 20-21 September
- Norway: Pay rise for childcare workers
- Europe: Two reports analyse extension of collective agreements and social dialogue in public services
- Europe: Collective bargaining news from across Europe
- Europe: ETUC calls for better protection for workers’ pension savings
- Germany: International solidarity with eldercare workers
Sep. 13, 2018 Workers from three psychiatric hospitals in Paris took strike action and joined a demonstration on 6 September to show their anger over plans to introduce new working time arrangements. The joint action was called by the CGT, CFDT, FO, CFE-CGC and SUD trade unions who argue that the management plans for working time for the 5000 employees will mean that workers will lose between five and 10 rest days a year. The trade unions argue that this would be unacceptable in normal circumstances but is even worse in a situation where many workers are already exhausted as a result of excessive workloads.
Sep. 13, 2018 The SIPTU general workers' union has welcomed new government intiatives on funding and regulation of the childcare sector which it believes will help improve children's safety and the quality of care. However, the union argues that urgent action is needed to tackle low pay and precarious employment in the sector. SIPTU says with average pay at only EUR 10.88 an hour, there are significant recruitment and retention problems as reflected in a staff turnover rate of just over 28%.The union wants to see a major overhaul of funding for the sector to provide the basis of decent pay for such undervalued workers.
Sep. 13, 2018 The three main unions in the prisons sector, FSC-CCOO, FeSP-UGT and ACAIP-USO, are continuing their protests over pay, jobs and working conditions with three demonstrations planned for 14, 24 and 29 September. The unions have called on the government to honour the commitments it made when in opposition and increase resources for the prisons service. The unions emphasise that responsibilities and workloads have increased but staffing hasn't and the sector has 3400 vacant posts. Prison workers are facing considerable pressures to ensure safety in their institutions and face an increasing number of physical assaults. The unions also want the government to address the problem of pay discrepancies across the system where workers in different prisons have different rates of pay despite doing the same job.
Sep. 13, 2018 The latest stage of the long-running conflict between the FNV trade union and the ambulance service will see ambulance employees working to rule from 8am on 24 September. This means that workers will stick strictly to the collective agreement and so there will be no overtime, all breaks will be taken and no additional tasks will be taken on. The union has set out demands for higher pay and action to reduce workloads but the employers failed to respond to these by the union's 29 August deadline. The FNV argues strongly that the sector faces a major staffing problem and that action on pay and working conditions is urgently needed to improve recruitment and retention.
Sep. 13, 2018 A survey by the ver.di services trade union and DGB trade union confederation reveals sharp differences between occupations when it comes to workloads and stress. Four out of five nurses say that they often feel harassed because of excessive workloads. This is higher than the 69% of eldercare workers and well above the 55% registered across all occupations. There are similar differences when it comes to employees saying that have to cut corners on quality to ensure service delivery. This was the case for 49% of nurses, 42% of eldercare workers but only 22% of all occupations. Not surprising then that only 23% of nurses and 20% of eldercare workers can imagine staying to normal retirement age compared to 48% of all workers. Ver.di has called on the government to legislate on safe staffing levels but has rejected the latest proposal on this from the health minister.
Sep. 14, 2018 Workers in public administration and some other public services will see their pay rise by at least 5% in 2019, with higher increases for low-paid workers in some areas including the departments of justice, culture, labour and social administration. There will higher increases of 15% and 10% for teachers and non-teaching staff in education while the security forces will get between 2% and 6%. The increase for health workers has yet to be confirmed. The OSZSP health union wants a pay rise of 10% across the board which it argues has been promised by the prime minister. However, the health minister has proposed a 10% increase in the wage bill but with different increases for different groups of workers. In a recent meeting with OSZSP, the Czech Nurses' Association confirmed its support for a 10% increase.
Sep. 14, 2018 The JHL public services union has warned that it will start a campaign of industrial action if the government goes ahead with plans to change the law on dismissal. The union leadership agreed that it would consider action short of a strike (such as an overtime ban) and even targeted strike action. The government is working on proposals that would make it easier to dismiss workers in companies with fewer than 20 employees which would cover 36% of all employees. JHL says that Finnish law is not restrictive by international standards and the government is pushing for the change even though there is no evidence that such a measure would have a positive effect on employment.
Sep. 14, 2018 The POA prison staff union's call for action by its members on 14 September was widely supported across the country. The union decided on the action following the latest revelations of violence against staff at Bedford prison in south east England which received an "urgent notification" from the Chief Inspector of Prisons who warned of the potential for a complete breakdown in order at the institution. The notification requires a response from the government. The POA has been demanding national action to reduce overcrowding and tackle violence and says that government imposed cuts are behind the serious deterioration in the prison service.
Sep. 14, 2018 Four unions representing nurses - SEP, ASPE, SERAM and SINDEPOR - are all supporting national strike action on 20-21 September. Their protest is over the failure of the government to respond to a series of demands on improving the career and pay structure for nurses. These demands cover salaries that properly reflect nurses' job content, with particular concern for specialist nurses and nursing managers, confirmation of 35 years' service and 57 years of age as retirement age, provision of measures to compensate for the arduousness of shift work and the recruitment of more nurses.
Sep. 14, 2018 Employees of the FUS private childcare company are getting a 2.8% pay rise which will mean annual pay increases of between NOK 8900 (EUR 890) and NOK 14200 (EUR 1420) depending on occupation. There will also be a NOK 56 (EUR 5.60) additional payment per hour for late shifts beginning after 17.00. FUS has 175 kindergartens around the country attended by 13000 children. The settlement is in line with that negotiated recently with the PBL private childcare employers' federation. Negotiations involved public services unions Fagforbundet and Delta as well as the teachers' union.
Sep. 14, 2018 The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has published two reports on collective bargaining and social dialogue. A working paper on social dialogue in public services was published to mark the 40th anniversary of ILO Convention 151 on labour relations in the public services. It covers three of the European social dialogue committees in which EPSU is involved along with examples of how social dialogue works in Italy, Denmark and the Czech and Slovak Republics. The ILO's report on extension of collective agreements provides evidence on the important role that this process can play in reducing inequality and countering unfair competition by providing a level playing field at sector level.
Sep. 14, 2018 The latest issue of Collective Bargaining News from the European Trade Union Institute includes nearly 100 articles covering all sectors from over 30 countries. There are several news stories from EPSU sectors including reports on a dispute in the waste sector in Belgium, the impact of austerity on health in Greece, calls for consultation over job cuts in Hungary and a strike of cleaners at the Ministry of Justice in the UK.
Sep. 14, 2018 The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) says that the proposals for Pan-European Personal Pensions (PEPP) should include stronger protection for workers' savings. The ETUC welcomed some improvements voted through by the European Parliament related to regulation and preferential treatment of schemes with good governance. However, it underlined that initiatives like PEPP should not be used to undermine collective and publicly-provided pension schemes which need to be maintained and strengthened.
Sep. 14, 2018 EPSU and affiliates in the social services sector across Europe have been sending solidarity messages to colleagues at the Celenus clinic in Germany. The clinic is part of the French multinational Orpea which runs residential homes and provides care services. The solidarity will be an encouragement to members of the ver.di services union as they continue to put pressure on the Celenus management to abide by their legal and collective agreement obligations and negotiate a pay increase. The union is also challenging the company over its dismissal of two trade union activists. EPSU affiliates from Austria, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain, where Orpea has subsidiaries, all sent messages of support.