Collective Bargaining, Low pay/minimum wages, Privatisation, Youth, Embassy and household staff, Economic Policy
(June 2017) Embassy, tourist office and other international staff around the world are taking strike action to secure pay rises and end a long-term pay freeze that has seen wages in some countries fall to below national minima. Unions are looking for a 20% pay increase, arguing that in some countries inflation has meant a 40% loss of purchasing power for some workers. Action has taken place or is planned in several countries including Canada, Sweden, the United States and Argentina.
(June 2017) A new report from the CBS statistics office highlights three key trends in the labour market reflecting greater inequality and less security. Overall the percentage of workers on permanent contracts has fallen from 71% to 61% while the labour market is becoming more divided between low-paid, low-skilled jobs and high-paid work, with few jobs in the middle. The report also found more young people and those with basic education are stuck in low-paid jobs with little autonomy or security.
The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have called a strike on 16 October involving workers in the government's overseas services. The strike is in protest at the freezing of salaries for the 7000 workers in the service and increasingly precarious employment conditions. The unions say that the strike is necessary as there has been no response to their demands since a meeting a meeting in June and despite a number of other protests and actions so far in 2017.
Public service unions, including Fórsa and SIPTU, have met with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for discussions on dealing more rapidly with the problem of pay equity for new entrants to the public service. In the pay changes implemented as part of austerity measures in 2011, two additional points were added to the first two pay grades for new starters. This means that they need two more years to reach the top of their pay grades compared to higher grades. The unions argue that with economic growth and higher tax revenues, it should be possible to tackle this issue in advance
The FOA public services union has very much welcomed the significant increases to pay for health and social care assistants and trainees as a result of the recently negotiated public sector collective agreements. While all workers will benefit from the the overall 8.1% increase over three years, specific increases set out in the agreements will mean that health and social service assistants will see increases of 13% over the period and trainees will get pay rises of between 14% and 19%. The union believes these are important steps in revaluing low paid jobs in the sector and also making the
Pension reform, low wages, concerns of young workers and more addressed in the Russia-Central Asia Constituency meeting
The unions of the constituency met in a situation of much turmoil in Russia. Protests have taken place across the country against proposed reforms of the pension system.
Campaigning by the youth section of the FNV trade union has paid off with implementation of a change in the national minimum wage. The adult rate will now be applied from 21 rather than 22. This means 21-year-olds will benefit from the new EUR 9,44 rate, a 45% increase on the previous rate, which was only EUR 6,49. While being delighted with the result the union's youth section is determined to keep up the fight to get right of the other age-related rates so that the full adult rate applies from 18.