On 27 August the KESK public services confederation organised a national strike in protest at the collective agreement signed by the government and the Memur Sen trade union. KESK has a range of key demands which the agreement fails to address and is angry that it was shut out of the negotiations. The confederation argues that the pay rises foreseen in the agreement are inadequate to ensure protection against inflation and it doesn’t include any measures to deal with employment security, workplace democracy or the right to proper collective bargaining. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Water, Collective Bargaining
Collective bargaining – trends and developments
Collective bargaining is a core activity of trade unions and EPSU’s affiliates negotiate with public service employers at every level. This can range from national public-sector wide bargaining to sector and local negotiations with public sector employers but also private and non-profit providers of public services. EPSU works with the European Trade Union Confederation to try to improve collective bargaining rights for all workers across Europe. We also act as a European information point so that EPSU affiliates are aware of trends in public service negotiations. EPSU’s collective bargaining newsletter provides regular updates on developments across Europe and this briefing gives an overview of the state of play in the main agreements in each country.
The JHL public services union has carried out a major survey of its members to find out their priorities for the next round of collective bargaining. A majority (67.5%) saw a pay rise as the first priority with 84% in favour of a general wage increase to be applied to all workers. The second most important goal was the improvement of working time (37.9%) and the third most important was to improve well-being at work (32.8%), particularly the operation of occupational health care. For local negotiations 79% thought that this should be the responsibility of shop stewards and shouldn’t be
The vpod/ssp public services union has launched an organising and collective bargaining initiative to boost the level of activism in the union across the country. The aim is to talk to members and workers at local level to find out the main issues of concern and discuss what can be done in response. Pay and staffing levels have unsurprisingly emerged among the hottest issues as the bus has made its way through health and social care workplaces in Basel, Bern and the regions of Solothurn and St.Gallen. However, workers have also raised concerns about fair working hours, having proper breaks
Collective bargaining has been under pressure for years in Romania. Sectoral bargaining has been made very difficult. More recently the government undermined the social dialogue by transforming in a mere information process.
Solidarity with Turkish Public service workers on strike for higher pay, better conditions and more workplace democracy
The Turkish Public Services Confederation KESK and its affiliates are on strike 27 August. EPSU supports the strike and the demands of the unions for decent wages and fair working conditions.
The KESK public sector confederation has set out its main demands for the public sector negotiations that started at the beginning of August. The priority will be restoring the 8.5% loss in purchasing power for public sector workers over the last two years and along with a further increase to cover inflation that the confederation estimates to be higher than 50% in contrast to the official figure of just over 30%. The other key demands include ending privatisation, increasing public investment and public employment, reducing working time and strengthening job security. KESK also wants action
The five national trade union confederations sent a solidarity message to the MESZK chamber of healthcare professionals in support of its protest march in Budapest on 31 July. The demonstrators called for pay increases for nurses in line with those already awarded to doctors and argued this was crucial to help stem the migration of nurses to western Europe. Earlier this year the five confederations also came together to file a complaint with the International Labour Organisation over the government’s imposition of new legislation which removes the rights to negotiate and take strike action
The SINTAP public service trade union has negotiated a new collective agreement with the Inova company that provides waste, water and other municipal services in Cantanhede in the Coimbra district. The union highlights in particular the progressive reduction of working hours in 2022 and 2023 to 35 a week; changes to the timing of night work; additional holiday entitlement – an extra day for each 10 years of service and general increase in annual leave to 25 by 2023. There will also be increases to meal and other allowances as well as higher pay. In contrast, the STAL local government union
On 5 July a group of 13 Romanian trade unionists arrived in Brussels after a four-day rolling protest from Bucharest over the low wages that force many of their fellow citizens to make similar journeys to find decent work. The “Caravan of Social Rights” stopped in Budapest, Vienna, Munich and Luxembourg along the way to stage protests outside Romanian embassies with the support of local trade unions. GDP per capita in Romania is now 72% of the EU average, but Romanian workers’ pay is just 28% of the EU average and the minimum wage is just €281 a month when the cost of living is €572 a month
As agreed during the last bargaining round in municipal services, a new collective agreement will apply from 1 September that will cover around 180000 health and social care staff employed by municipalities and joint municipal authorities. The Super and TEHY trade unions believe that in future the separate negotiations will enable them to address more effectively the needs of their members. The agreement – SOTE – takes over the provisions of the current KVTES municipal collective agreement and will run until February 2022. The change will also mean that staff in early years education will
Poor treatment of employees, outdated equipment and low quality of services – outsourcing and privatisation of municipal services has similar negative effects whether it takes place in Poland or Norway.
Workers at the national water company, AdP, took strike action on 11 June over pay and long-standing problems with working conditions. The STAL trade union reported very high levels of support for the action with workers angry that company profits and investments have been increased while the situation for employees has deteriorated. The union is call for a €90 pay increase and minimum wage of €850; new measures on careers and professional development that value and recognize the knowledge, experience and commitment of workers; a progressive reduction of working hours to 35 hours a week