May. 04, 2020 On 28 and 29 April, the ver.di union, representing health and care workers, organised a photo action, projecting photos of care workers on key buildings including the ministry of health and parliament. The union was drawing attention to the work being done by hundreds of thousands of workers across health and social care despite the risks and often without adequate personal protective equipment. According to the union at least 42 health and care staff have died as a result of COVID-19. While welcoming the EUR 1500 bonus paid to staff in elder care, the union points out that not only have many health and other social care workers not received any bonus, but more importantly action needs to be taken in the longer term to improve pay and conditions across the sector.
Apr. 08, 2020 The public service union ver.di and care sector employers' organisation BVAP have agreed on a EUR 1500 payment for all care workers in recognition of the work they have been doing during the COVID-19 crisis. The payment will be made in July and part-time workers will get a proportional amount while trainees will get EUR 900. The payment will go to all nurses, carers and assistants working in long-term and home care and the aim is to make it generally binding and so covering also any commercial and other providers who are not members of BVAP. Ver.di and the employers are in the process of negotiating a collective agreement for the sector for the first time. Ver.di has also negotiated a short-time working agreement with the VKA municipal employers' organisation. While the threats of job and/or hours cuts are not affecting many public services, such as health, care, employment services and social security, others, such as sports and culture and local transport have been hit hard by closures and reduced activity. The agreement is effective from 1 April and runs until the end of the year. Most workers - those on pay grades 1-10, will get 95% of their take-home pay while those on the highest pay grade (11) will get 90%. Employers covered by the agreement will not be able to make any compulsory redundancies for the period short-time work and the following three months.
Feb. 18, 2020 Strike action, a major demonstration, political support and international solidarity have combined to bring the Ameos health company to the negotiating table. Members of the ver.di services union have been on strike to get a collective agreement and the reinstatement of 14 colleagues who were sacked at the end of last year by the management of Ameos in the Saxony-Anhalt region. International solidarity was channelled through a labourstart campaign with over 6300 signatures calling on the company to negotiate. The strike action has now been suspended to allow time for negotiations which were due to start on 20 February.
Feb. 03, 2020 Workers at the Ameos private, for-profit health company in the Saxony-Anhalt region are taking strike action despite the aggressive intimidation of the company's management. The union wants to negotiate a collective agreement which links workers' pay and conditions to the public sector agreement. Not only have management refused to negotiate but they sacked 14 trade union activists before Christmas and are threatening a further 800 job cuts if the union contnues its campaign. EPSU joined with ver.di in launching a labourstart campaign, targeting the company management.
Feb. 03, 2020 The ver.di services union has welcomed a major improvement in minimum wages in the care sector agreed by the joint care sector committee that recommends rates for implementation by the labour ministry. With higher increases for Eastern regions, it means that there will be single rates for the whole country by September 2021. The rate for non-qualified workers will rise to EUR 11.35 this year and to EUR 12.55 by 2022. The rate for those with two-years' training will rise to EUR 13.20 and a new rate for those with three years' training will be introduced in 2021 at EUR 15 and rise to EUR 15.40 by 2022. The union underlines that it is aiming for further improvements for workers in elder care in the current negotiations with employers for a collective agreement to cover this sector for the first time.
Jan. 21, 2020 The ver.di health union, working with the German Hospital Association and German Nursing Council, has made a major breakthrough in developing a staffing assessment tool that should help deliver safe staffing levels. It means that each hospital section will be assessed both in terms of patient care needs and number of employees required to ensure the health and workload of nursing staff. Tested in 44 hospitals, the system has proven that it can be practically implemented. Ver.di believes this will make a real difference to the longstanding challenge of tackling staff shortages and wants the system introduced as a nationwide regulation. It understands, however, that a transition period will be required in order to begin to address the estimated 80000 shortfall in nursing staff across the country.
Jan. 06, 2020 Both the ver.di service union and the BVAP employers' organisation report making good progress in their negotiations on a first-ever sector agreement covering eldercare providers. The two sides have also confirmed that they will apply to the labour ministry to have the agreement extended to cover all providers in the sector even if they are not party to the negotiations. The next round of negotiations will take place on 4-5 February. In the meantime the two sides report specific progress on a separate agreement covering trainees that will ensure pay will eventually match that for trainees in the healthcare sector.
Dec. 18, 2019 Public services union ver.di has negotiated a new pay deal with waste and recycling company Schönmackers. The company has 1500 employees and operates in the North Rhine Westphalia region. The agreement includes a pay increase of 3.6% from March 2020 and a further 1.3% from August 2021. There is an EUR 80 increase on trainee pay and the agreement runs to the end of January 2022. Meanwhile there is no progress in the GWE negotiations covering 7700 energy and water workers in the same region. Ver.di has rejected as completely inadequate a pay offer over 28 months that would equate to only 1.75% in the first year and 1.57% in the second year.
Nov. 19, 2019 After a series of warning strikes involving over 3000 workers, public service union ver.di has negotiated a new 28-month agreement covering 28000 employees of four university clinics in the Baden-Württemberg region. The deal is worth 7.1% paid in two stages (1 November 2019 and 1 February 2020). As a result of legislation that provides funding to ensure increased staffing of nursing and care personnel, these workers will get an extra EUR 200 a month. But ver.di has negotiated with the four hospitals to cover more occupations than those specified in the law.
Nov. 05, 2019 Workers at the Schildautal hospital in Seesen in Lower Saxony are continuing their strike action to secure a collective agreement despite management's aggressive anti-strike measures (see EPSU Collective Bargaining News 19, October). Public services union ver.di has condemned the hospital owners, Askeplios, for failing to agree a minimum service agreement, threatening workers with the sack and offering strike-breaking bonuses. Further action was taken on 1 November despite the employer's intimidation and on the basis of the union's own proposal for minimum service.
Oct. 22, 2019 Public service union ver.di has undertaken a major survey covering over 210000 workers in the public sector and just under 18000 in private and non-profit health and social care. The survey found that 92% of workers thought it important to have a choice between more pay and fewer hours and 57% would actually swap a pay increase for an hours cut. Overall of those wanting shorter hours, 45% wanted to work fewer days while 30% wanted a working time account to allow for more holidays or the option to retire earlier. The union will consult further in the lead up to next year's public sector negotiations.