(January 2017) Following action last month, the CGT, FAFPT and FO unions have called for another day of action demanding improved pay and conditions for pre-school workers. The unions met with representatives of the ministry for public administration who expressed sympathy for the case put by the trade unions but failed to come up with concrete proposals.The unions point out that working time and other working conditions vary considerably across the country and the needs of this group of workers has been ignored by employers both locally and nationally.
Strike, Local government
Following World War (II) and the experience with fascism and nazism, the French people and government wanted to ensure that civil and public servants were not merely to be regarded as workers that blindly obey orders.
(January 2017) There was strong support for a health workers' strike on 20 January with unions calling for action on pay, career development and the application of the 35-hour week for all public service workers. On 3 February non-teaching staff in schools and kindergartens plan a 24-hour strike with demands to tackle precarious employment, to increase recruitment and create a proper career structure.
(January 2017) The FP CGIL public services federation has analysed employment data to show the impact of job cuts and recruitment freezes. It estimates that there are some 237000 fewer public sector jobs than in 2007 while the health service has seen a fall of 50000 jobs since 2009. The recruitment freeze has also contributed to an ageing workforce with average ages across the public sector over 50 and rising. The union wants to see these issues addressed in collective bargaining with an urgent need to recruit young workers and for action on staffing levels in the health service.The CISL FP
(January 2017) White-collar union Vision has set out its main bargaining demands in its negotiations with the KFS organisation for local enterprises. The union wants to see competitive salaries and action to improve well-being at work. It also wants employees to be on permanent contracts with employers providing objective justifications for any use of fixed-term contracts of agency staff. Longer paid holidays, individual working time accounts and shorter hours for workers in establishment requiring 24-hour cover are also among the demands.
(January 2017) School support staff in Derbyshire in central England have been involved in two further weeks of strike action in protest at the local authority's decision to cut their pay by up to 25%. The workers, members of the UNISON trade union, took action at the end of last year in a dispute that began over seven months ago (see epsucob@NEWS 14 and 15 October and November 2016).
(May 2017) Public service trade unions have had a series of meetings with the new minister of public accounts, Gérald Darminin, with some already unhappy that his remit is not broad responsibility for the public services. The unions have a number of major concerns including the need for a pay rise, particularly for the lowest paid occupations and rejection of the plans to cut 120000 civil service posts. Pensions and other working conditions were also raised in the meetings with the minister indicating that joint meetings with the unions would take place later in the year.
(May 2017) The three public service federations (FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-FPL) organised a day of action on 23 May to highlight the problem of underfunding of provincial and city councils. The unions argue that indiscriminate cuts have to end and that inadequate funding poses a threat to workers' wages as well the delivery of essential services and maintenance of roads and schools. Workers were mobilised across the country on the day.
(May 2017) The STAL local government union is calling for an immediate pay increase of 4% (minimum EUR 50) to address the loss of purchasing power of local government workers. The union says that pay levels remain lower than they were in 2010. The union has a number of other demands in including unfreezing career progression. Meanwhile the FNSTFPS civil service federation called a national strike on 26 May with similar demands including a guarantee that all workers in the public service have a right to the 35-hour week.
(May 2017) The UNISON public services union warns of a recruitment crisis in public services if public sector pay restraint is continued. UNISON quotes a new report from the independent Insitute of Fiscal Studies which say that if public sector pay continues to fall compared to pay in the private sector, the public sector will struggle to recruit and retain the workers it needs to deliver public services, and the quality of those services will therefore be at risk.
(May 2017) The ADEDY public sector confederation expressed its thanks to the thousands of workers who joined the general strike and rallies on 17 May. The strike was to express opposition to further austrity measures being put forward as part of the bail-out package being negotiated between the government and the European creditors and International Monetary Fund. The strike was jointly called by the GSEE private sector confederation and supported by the International Trade Union Confederation.
(May 2017) The FOA public services union has called on MPs to reject the continuing demand on local government and health to deliver a 2% productivity increase each year. Effectively in force since 2003, it means that workers in the sector deliver 49% more services with the same staff. The union argues that there is a limit to what can be done and that services cannot be permanently streamlined without posing a threat to quality. The union points out that while health workers have been delivering a 2.4% productivity increase each year the private sector has managed only 1%.
(June 2017) Public services union ver.di has called on the minister for youth and families to launch a major national initiative to extend and improve training for childcare workers. The union argues that this is needed to ensure that enough well-trained staff are available to cope with the planned increase of 100000 kindergarten places. The union also wants to see national action in relation to staffing levels to address the problem that the availability and quality of early years education can vary significantly from region to region.
New Forms of Service Delivery in municipalities, good practice for occupational health and safety and social dialogue are interlinked!
CEMR and EPSU organized the final conference in Barcelona to discuss the final project report and recommendations on new forms of service delivery for municipalities, the contribution of social dialogue and well-being at work.
(November 2016) Teaching assistants in County Durham in North-East England have taken strike action for the second time in protest at the local authority's decision to put them on term-time only contracts. This means workers facing pay cuts of up to 23%. Following the two-day action on 23 and 24 November the teaching assistants will continue their industrial action by working strictly to contract. Some teaching assistants are members of the GMB union and voted earlier to accept an offer from the employers.