(May 2016) The three confederations are mobilising for a series of actions over the next few months culminating in a general strike on 7 October, the second anniversary of the centre-right government. The unions are angry about continuing cuts to public services but also to the threat to the 38-hour week. They are calling for more investment in public services and a range of other measures to boost the economy. The first major event will be a joint national demonstration on 24 May in Brussels. Read more at FGTB (FR), ABVV (NL), CSC (FR), ACV (NL), CGSLB (FR), ACLVB (NL)
Negotiating and campaigning on working time
After pay, working time is core collective bargaining issue but is also an important area of employment regulated by national and European legislation. EPSU has been very active in defending and calling for proper implementation of the Working Time Directive and is involved in current debates on working time. The why and how of working time reduction is a guide produced for EPSU by the European Trade Union Institute and examines long-term trends in working time, the arguments for reducing it and examples of how this has been achieved.
(July 2016) Public sector workers have won back their right to a 35-hour week. Legislation came into effect earlier this month reversing the increase to 40 hours a week pushed through as part of a range of austerity measures in 2013. Most workers benefit immediately although implementation in some cases may be delayed to ensure continuity of service. Public sector unions have been waging a high-profile campaign against the five-hour increase, negotiating hundreds of local agreements across the public sector to retain the 35-hour week. Read more at CGTP (PT) and UGT (PT).
(July 2016) Trade unions have welcomed the decision by President Dalia Grybauskaitė to veto the draft Labour Code. She said that the Code fails to provide adequate protections for workers and she has sent it back to Parliament with 22 suggested amendments. The unions have been campaigning against the Code since last autumn, warning of the impact of measures that would relax rules on working time and make it easier for employers to sack workers. Read more at Baltic Times (EN) and EPSU (EN).
(July 2016) Over 400 energy meter readers around the country took their second period of four-day strike action in protest at demands by the E.On company that they work 30 minutes extra three nights a week. The unions - Unite, Unison and GMB - are concerned about long working days and that the company won't stop there if the extra hours are agreed. Read more at Unite.
(August 2016) Unions representing health workers from both the CGTP and UGT confederations organised strike action on 28 and 29 July calling for implementation of the 35-hour week across the health sector. The unions are angry that the decision to return to the 35-hour week across the public sector has not been fully implement in the health sector where many workers are covered by separate collective agreements that continue to apply the 40-hour week. The unions involved were Sintap, FNSTFPS and SEP. The SEP nurses' union reported 75% and more support for the strike and plans further action
(August 2016) A report by the IGAS social affairs inspectorate provides evidence that the reduction in working time implemented with the introduction of the 35-hour seek in 1998 lead to the creation of 350000 jobs over the next four years. The report has not been officially published but was leaked to the Mediapart organisation. The CGT trade union confederation has criticised the decision by the IGAS not to publish the report officially and argues that the analysis supports its call for a further reduction of weekly working time to 32 hours. The CFDT confederatoin has also called for a cut in
(August 2016) Following their national action at the end of July (see last issue of epsucob@NEWS), nurses in the SEP trade union have been involved in a series of strikes at different hospitals around the country. Strikes at Barlavento Algarvio, Faro hospital and other institutions took place in the first half of the month and more are to follow with a five-day action planned at Tondela-Viseu in central Portugal. Read more at SEP (PT).
The Health and Social Services Standing Committee has initiated the EPSU response to the [European Commission Communication->http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/labour_law/documentation_en.htm] on certain aspects of the working time directive. The position will respond to
At a Hearing by the Social Affairs Committee of the European Parliament EPSU General Secretary Carola Fischbach-Pyttel launched a searing attack on the European Commission proposals to revise the Working
Press Release - 17 March 2005 Participants: European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), Members of European Parliament, Alejandro CERCAS, Stephen Hughes. The European Federation