The GMB energy and general union declared an end to the long and bitter dispute with British Gas over its aggressive policy of firing and rehiring workers. GMB members voted three to one to accept a new deal. Around 7,000 British Gas engineers staged 44 days of strike action after the company threatened to sack them if they didn’t sign up to detrimental changes to their terms and conditions. The new deal offers improvements to overtime rates and unsocial hours payments, places limits on the amount of unsocial working undertaken, reverses the decision to close the defined benefit pension scheme
Poor treatment of employees, outdated equipment and low quality of services – outsourcing and privatisation of municipal services has similar negative effects whether it takes place in Poland or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.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, neoliberal restructuring has continued unabated across Europe, with the privatisation of public services a key element of both national austerity policies, and European Union (EU) – level economic governance structures.
Turkish and Dutch unions discuss resistance to privatisation and commercialisation of public services
The Turkish unions in DISK (like Genel-Is and Devrim Saglik-Is) and KESK (SES, Tum-bel-Sen) and the Dutch FNV met to discuss the impact of outsourcing, privatisation and commercialisation of public services.
Workers in four social care organisations in Oslo have been taking strike action in support of their demands that all employees should be paid in line with pay rates in the municipal sector. Their union Fagforbundet says that pay rates for nurses are comparable to the public sector but assistant nurses and other workers could be paid around NOK 100000 (EUR 9800) a year less than people doing the same job a municipal care provider. The union is challenging two major companies – Stendi and Norlandia – to tackle this pay inequality and ensure fair pay across the sector.
Health and social care unions in the Basque region have been involved in a series of protests and strikes. Mobilisations in public health during December and January will culminate in a day of strike action on 28 January. The unions are angry about the failure of the public health system to honour basic rights to information and collective bargaining. They are concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the system and the way that management have responded by taking unilateral decisions on working conditions, health and safety and precarious employment. Two days earlier, on 26 January unions
Last week, the European Social Partners in the gas sector held a joint webinar, hosted by MEPs Agnes Jongerius (S&D) and Dennis Radtke (EPP), on the transition to climate neutrality and the need to ensure that is just for the workers in the gas sector.