Trade unions in many sectors took strike action and joined protests across the country on 5 December against proposals to reform the pensions system. There is widespread concern that the reforms will lead to later retirement to get decent pensions or retirement on lower benefits. Workers in the transport and education sectors are particularly concerned but the actions, including an 800,000-strong demonstration in Paris attracted wide support. Further action took place on 6 December and is planned for the coming weeks.
Trade union action against the government’s pensions proposals has continued across several sectors, particularly transport. The latest main national mobilisation against pension reform took place on 9 January. While not all trade union organisations are involved in the strike action and demonstrations, all are opposed in some way to the plans to merge pension arrangements across sectors and increase the retirement age and/or increase the number of years of contributions needed for a full pension. There are particular concerns about arduous work in some sectors, like sewage treatment, where
The Forsa and SIPTU trade unions are continuing to protest and organise industrial action in long-running disputes involving their members in health, social and community services. Many workers in so-called Section 39 publicly-funded organisations provide health and social services but have been denied the kind of pay restoration provided to directly-employed public sector workers in these services. Meanwhile, community employment advisors took strike action on 14 February in the latest step in their campaign for the implementation of a 2008 Labour Court recommendation on their rights to
The FNV trade union has negotiated a new 12-month agreement covering around 7000 workers in the waste processing sector. There will be a 3.75% pay increase with 2.75% paid in January and 1% in August along with a one-off payment of EUR 125. Two hundred workers on flexible contracts will be offered permanent jobs. There are also improved provisions for training and there will be talks over pensions and more possibilities for early retirement related to the arduousness of the job and length of service. The young workers' pay rate (18) will rise from 85% to 87.5% of the full adult rate.
The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have finally negotiated a new agreement covering 40000 workers in the central state administration. This comes three years after the last agreement and failure of the previous government to negotiate a deal. The new agreement will mean an overall increase of 14% for the lowest paid covering the three years 2018-2020. There are also measures to clarify job classifications and relate them more closely to educational qualifications. The unions are also pleased to include for the first time provisions to allow workers aged 55 and over to opt for
The health conference of the vpod public service union has called for action to tackle the stress, long working hours, involuntary part-time work and low pay in the sector which is part of the persistent discrimination faced by women workers. The union wants to see a revaluation of pay of health and care jobs to recognise the arduousness and increased responsibilities of many occupations. Vpod is also calling for major improvements to work-life balance, reductions in working time, better shift planning, possibilities for retirement from 60 and provision of necessary training. The union says
Three trade union confederations have come together to launch a campaign to secure a referendum with the aim of reversing changes to the retirement age. The unions want to retain 65 as the normal retirement age but the government has already put in place legislation to increase it to 67 and more recently to bring forward the date of full implementation. If the unions can get the support of 10% of the electorate then the government will have to organise a referendum. EPSU sent a message of support to the unions.
As reported in epsucob@NEWS 05 in March, community employment advisors are campaigning to secure pension rights that should have been provided for them 11 years ago following a decision by the Labour Court. With no action from the government the workers are now planning five days of strike action to increase the pressure on the government to resolve the dispute.
The STAL and STML unions representing firefighters organised a protest in Lisbon on 16 April outside the Interior Ministry. The main concerns for the unions are about government proposals to reform the career structure for firefighters and to reduce retirement benefits. Other issues relate to payments for oncall time, 12-hour shifts and implementation of a pay structure that the two unions negotiated with the ministry. The unions have been frustrated by the government's reluctance to negotiate, delaying and then postponing a meeting due on 2 April.
Unions have reacted negatively to new government proposals for economic transformation. The unions are particularly concerned about the possbility of changes to severance payments which they see as a fundamental employment right especially where workers experience widespread restructuring and precarious employment conditions. The unions are also worried about plans to give a greater role to private pensions and about possible changes to taxation. While proposals for a reduction in indirect taxation might be welcome the unions are unhappy that the measures could further reduce the contribution
After a lengthy campaign of protests and industrial action, unions have secured an additional €1 billion in funding from the federal government to improve pay and conditions for health workers. €500 million will go towards the implementation of a new pay system and harmonisation of pay in the private and public sectors. Unions estimate this will mean pay increases of 5%-6%. €400 million will cover additional staff to ensure a better staff/patient ratio and 10% of this amount will contribute to improved training. €100 million is allocated to improving working conditions, including in particular