May. 18, 2018 The three main trade union confederations organised a national demonstration in Brussels on 16 May in protest at government plans to reform the pensions system. The estimated 70000-strong march was nearly three times the size of a similar demonstration in December, showing the strength of opposition to government policy which includes raising the pension age from 65 to 67. Some of the key demands include a minimum pension that delivers an adequate standard of living, gradual alignment of private and public sector pensions and proper account taken of arduous jobs and sickness and injury in calculating pensions.
May. 03, 2018 The three main public service federations took strike action on 30 April in protest at proposals for significant reductions to civil service employment rights and benefits. In a major cost-cutting reform plan the government wants to employ more workers on contracts, including temporary contracts, and reduce the number of civil servants on statutory conditions to a minimum. It is also looking to cut holiday entitlement and reduce certain sickness and pension benefits.
Jan. 25, 2018 Prison staff unions in Belgium, France and Spain have been taking or are planning industrial action or demonstrations over staffing and pay. In France, the unions have raised concerns about prison overcrowding, violence against staff, the need for a significant increase in prison officer numbers and improvements to pay and conditions. After failing to get a satisfactory response from the justice ministry, the unions are calling for an extension of the action across the country. In Belgium, the issue is the failure of the government to adhere to a 2016 agreement on staffing levels and further action is planned over several dates in January and early February. Spanish unions are planning a national day of action on 24 February over staff shortages, pay and, in particular, major and unjustified differences in pay for the same job in different institutions.
Nov. 30, 2017 The CGSP and CSC public service federations in Wallonia organised strike action on 30 November over the failure of the regional government to respect agreements that it has signed. The unions had been warning from early September that urgent action was required. The issues involve a commitment to permanent status for contract workers, shorter working time, filling of vacant posts to ensure service quality and revaluing low salaries for workers on the level B pay grade.
Oct. 12, 2017 The CGSP/ACOD public service federation, part of the FGTB socialist confederation, organised a national strike on 10 October. The union was protesting against the austerity policies of the government, weakening of employment rights in the public sector, reduced pension entitlement and the increased threat of privatisation. The union is also objecting to plans to impose minimum service requirements when public service unions taken strike action. The union says that minimum service agreements are currently negotiated with public service employers and should not be unilaterally imposed by the government.
Jun. 26, 2017 Public service unions bargaining for better pay across Europe A pay rise for public service workers across Europe is the message that EPSU has sent out today – 23rd June – Public Services Day. Supported by the European Trade Union Confederation and in cooperation with the ETUCE teachers' federation, EPSU has highlighted some of the countries where public service workers continue to suffer from the effects of pay cuts and pay freezes. This special issue of EPSU's Collective Bargaining newsletter reports on some of the latest developments in pay negotiations and affiliates' campaigns, protests and other actions in support of those negotiations. Ireland: Public service workers suffered significant pay cuts in 2009 and 2010 with take-home pay also affected by a pensions levy. Unions are in the process of considering and consulting over a potential three-year pay deal which, if agreed, would mean a significant step towards pay restoration. The positions of the various unions can be seen at IMPACT, SIPTU, INMO, PSEU, CPSU and AHCPS. Czech Republic: The OSZPS health and social care union launched a campaign earlier this year exposing the pressing problem of low pay and overwork, with many workers leaving for better paid jobs in other sectors or other countries. The union has negotiated pay increases and new pay arrangements which will provide pay increases of between 9% and 23.5%. The highest increases will go to the lowest paid, following the abolition of the lowest three pay grades in the pay scale. UK: Public sector unions have been pressing for some time for an end to the 1% cap on public sector pay. This, combined with earlier pay freezes, has meant a major loss of purchasing power. Local government workers in Scotland are currently balloting over industrial action while in England and Wales they have launched their pay claim for 2018. Health workers are also angry over pay restraint and civil servants have seen their pay progression blocked as well as pay frozen. Latest updates can be found at: UNISON, Unite, GMB, RCN and PCS. Spain: The main federations in the public sector, FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT, are mobilising around the country to secure a pay rise and other changes to employment conditions to restore cuts implemented since 2010. The most recent action was in Valladolid. Meanwhile, both federations are also supporting protests and strike action around the world to improve pay for the thousands of workers in embassies, consuls and other bodies. More information on the action in public administration can be read at FSC and FeSP while updates on the international campaigns can be found here and here. Belgium: The non-profit/social profit sector is a major employer in Belgium and covers a wide range of health and social services. Unions have been campaigning and negotiating for some time to secure improvements to pay, hours and to increase employment in a sector facing major pressures from overwork. The latest action took place at the beginning of June and while some concessions have been made the unions say they are still a long way from achieving their key demands. Read more at CSC-CNE/LBC-NVK, CGSP/ABVV and CGSLB/ACLVB. Austria: The two main unions in the private health and social services sector, vida and GPA-djp, have been negotiating and campaigning for higher minimum wages in their sector agreements. They are aiming for all sector agreements to have a minimum of at least EUR 1500 and then going for higher targets as this minimum is achieved. Further information can be read at vida and GPA-djp. Netherlands: The FNV trade union has just negotiated a new 27-month deal covering 55000 workers in welfare and social services. There will be a 3.65% increase in pay over the course of the agreement and a one-off payment worth 0.5% in January 2019. There are also provisions to deal with increasing work pressure. For further details check FNV. There are plenty more reports on recent pay settlements on EPSU's website. Here you'll find updates on some of the main bargaining outcomes in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden and Turkey and further updates from Austria, Ireland and the Netherlands. And there's lots of other bargaining news that can be searched by sector, subject and country.
Mar. 28, 2017
Social services like childcare, elderly care and services for people with disabilities, have been one of the biggest job creators since the crisis.
Mar. 21, 2017 (March 2017) Unions organising workers in the non-profit social services came together in a major demonstration in Brussels on 21 March. The unions want to see urgent action to tackle major problems facing the sector - poor pay, understaffing and excessive workloads leading to burnout for many workers trying to maintain services in impossible conditions. The unions want to negotiate a new agreement for the sector which addresses pay and working conditions but they also underline the link between quality employment and delivery of quality services. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Jan. 16, 2017 (January 2017) Trade unions and employers in the private sector have negotiated a two-year cross-sector agreement which is now up for approval by member organisations. The deal includes scope for a pay increase of 1.1% that would be negotiated at sector level but this would come on top of the 2.9% increase arising from the indexation of pay that continues to be applied at national level. The unions believe they have made some progress with the employers on a range of social issues, including early retirement, in stark contrast to the what they see as the negative approach of the government.
Dec. 14, 2016
At the Plenary Meeting 2016 held on 2 December, EPSU and HOSPEEM celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for the Hospital and Health Care Sector (SSDC HS).
Nov. 24, 2016
Thousands of workers in the Belgian social / non-profit descend on Brussels 24 November. They demand of the government to continue the agreements that ensured that stress was addressed, older workers could reach the pension age healthy and which offered younger workers a perspective to work in the sector.
Nov. 24, 2016 (November 2016) A common front of trade unions in the non-profit sector organised a national demonstration on 24 November in opposition to continuing austerity and in support of new collective agreements. The sector, with over 525000 workers, covers a broad range of health, social and cultural services. The trade unions are calling for more jobs, a real pay increase and other measures to ensure qualiity employment and quality services, particularly to improve work-life balance, particularly for workers coming up to retirement.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) 29 September will see a national demonstration supported by the three main trade unoin confederations as part of their continuing campaign against the austerity measures imposed by the government. The confederations have jointly decided to cancel the planned general strike on 7 October until they have time to react to the delayed government budget in response to which further action may be called. Demonstrations at local and sectoral level are still likely to take place on that date.