The public services trade union, younion, collected 15000 signatures in a petition that it handed in to the parliament of the region of Lower Austria on 10 October. The petition calls for action to deal with the pay and working conditions of the 3000 childcare workers in the region. The union wants to see improvements to education and training in the sector as well as the development of a proper career structure. It is also calling for pay to be commensurate with the responsibilities and demands of the job. The union is expecting to be able to negotiate soon, although there is no offer on this
Early Childhood Education and Care
Early Childhood Education and Care is an important area of social services for EPSU which aims to work together with affiliates, civil society and others to ensure accessible, affordable and quality childcare in Europe. The overwhelmingly female workforce is undervalued and the improving of pay and working conditions across the sector is crucial along with lobbying and campaigning for increased public investment and funding. EPSU has set up an Early Childhood Education and Care network to enable affiliates that organised in the sector to coordinate and exchange information.
The FNV trade union has welcomed new data showing an increase of 56000 in the number of children benefitting from childcare places. The union says this good news has to be weighed against the main challenges facing the sector with many workers on precarious contracts, with variable hours and often facing high workloads. The union plans to raise the issues in the upcoming negotiations over a new collective agreement. The current agreement covers 80000 workers and expires in January. Negotiations are due to begin in November.
Excessive workloads and unpredictable hours will feature prominently in the childcare sector negotiations that began on 8 November. With a slogan that "we're not jacks of all trades" the FNV trade union highlighted the problem that childcare workers were overburdened with cleaning, administrative and other tasks rather than child care itself. The union will be looking for restrictions on the extent to which employers can ask childcare workers to change their working time at short notice. The main pay claim will be for a 3.5% pay rise for the 80000 workers in the sector.
The Kommunal municipal workers' union is celebrating a successful mobilisation of workers to secure changes to the pre-school curriculum. The first draft of the curriculum had nothing to say about the role of childcare workers and so Kommunal used its influence on the ministry of education while its members ensured that childcare workers were the biggest group providing input into the curriculum consultation. The revised curriculum now acknowledges the key role of childcare workers and is seen by the union as an important step in furthering the professional status of the occupation.
The SIPTU general workers' union has welcomed new government intiatives on funding and regulation of the childcare sector which it believes will help improve children's safety and the quality of care. However, the union argues that urgent action is needed to tackle low pay and precarious employment in the sector. SIPTU says with average pay at only EUR 10.88 an hour, there are significant recruitment and retention problems as reflected in a staff turnover rate of just over 28%.The union wants to see a major overhaul of funding for the sector to provide the basis of decent pay for such
Employees of the FUS private childcare company are getting a 2.8% pay rise which will mean annual pay increases of between NOK 8900 (EUR 890) and NOK 14200 (EUR 1420) depending on occupation. There will also be a NOK 56 (EUR 5.60) additional payment per hour for late shifts beginning after 17.00. FUS has 175 kindergartens around the country attended by 13000 children. The settlement is in line with that negotiated recently with the PBL private childcare employers' federation. Negotiations involved public services unions Fagforbundet and Delta as well as the teachers' union.
The KKDSz culture workers' union and BDDSz childcare workers' union have been instrumental in getting the SZEF public sector confederation to launch a campaign on public service pay. The confederation is highlighting low pay and understaffing across the public services and the need for negotiations on long-term pay development in the public sector. It calls for action on corruption and the need for a redistribution of government spending to workers to ensure a fully staffed and professional public service delivering quality services.
Access to quality health, care and education and fairer and better tax, benefit and social protection systems are among some of the positive elements in the European Commission’s 2019 Annual Growth Survey (AGS) that was published on 21 November.
Low pay, understaffing, inadequate opportunities for training and career development, increasing administrative work and health and safety issues are among some of the main challenges facing workers in childcare according to new research commissioned by EPSU. As part of a European Commission-funded project, "Quality Employment and Quality Public Services", EPSU asked the HIVA research unit at Leuven University to carry out four country case studies, investigating the situation of childcare workers in Bulgaria, Italy, Sweden and the UK. There were also positive developments in relation to the
The FNV trade union has negotiated a new two-year collective agreement covering 80000 workers in the childcare sector. The agreement is backdated to 1 January 2018 and includes a pay rise of 5.25% over two years with 2.25% paid from 1 July this year along with a lump sum payment of EUR 185. Many workers in the sector work very few hours and are expected to be available to work at short notice. The agreement includes important provisions to regulate this with an extra day of work for those not working full-time and minimum two weeks' notice of work schedules. There are also proposals to tackle
The SOMK education, culture and media union organised demonstrations in Zagreb and Rijeka to protest against plans to raise the retirement age for childcare workers from 65 to 67. The union argues that the change fails to recognise the nature of work in the sector and the increasing mental and physical demands made on childcare workers. EPSU sent a message of solidarity as did the BDDSz childcare workers from Hungary.
Public investment in the social services workforce to deliver inclusive growth - EPSU at the 2019 Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth
EPSU speaks at the 2019 Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth Public and advocates for social dialogue in the field of social services and public investment in the social services workforce in order to deliver inclusive growth.