Members of four health unions in Northern Ireland - UNISON, RCN, NIPSA and Unite - have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action, including strike action, to force the government to address pay inequality which leaves them the worst paid health employees in the UK. The unions also want urgent action to tackle staff shortages and to ensure safe and effective staffing levels.EPSU sent messages of solidarity. The unions are involved in a range of different actions but are planning a coordinated strike on 18 December.
After a 12-year wait the three unions in private health care - FP CGIL, CISL FP and UIL FPL - are making some progress in negotiating a new collective agreement with the employer organisations - AIOP and ARIS. Meetings at the end of November and beginning of December addressed issues related to weekly rest periods, training leave, disciplinary procedures and criteria for transferring workers to other jobs. Further meetings are planned for 10, 17 and 18 December with a focus on job classification, where there have been major changes over the long period since the last agreement was negotiated.
Health and social care unions were again joined by hospital campaigning groups in a major national mobilisation on 17 December, following earlier days of strikes and protests in October and November (see EPSU CB News No.22, November and No.19, October). The campaign is highlighting the catastrophic situation in many health institutions as a result of underfunding. The key demands include increased funding and recruitment, a general increase in salaries and an immediate block on closures of health facilities. The protests combined with the continuing mobilisation against planned pension reforms
Public services union ver.di has negotiated a new pay deal with waste and recycling company Schönmackers. The company has 1500 employees and operates in the North Rhine Westphalia region. The agreement includes a pay increase of 3.6% from March 2020 and a further 1.3% from August 2021. There is an EUR 80 increase on trainee pay and the agreement runs to the end of January 2022. Meanwhile there is no progress in the GWE negotiations covering 7700 energy and water workers in the same region. Ver.di has rejected as completely inadequate a pay offer over 28 months that would equate to only 1.75%
Following industrial action and the first ever national hospital strike, trade unions have negotiated a new 27-month collective agreement that includes a 5% pay increase from 1 January 2020 and a further 3% from 1 January 2021. Around half of hospital employees work irregular hours and they will benefit from a new allowance which will add a further 2.5% to their pay. All employees will also get a EUR 1200 pro rata lump sum. The agreement includes higher pay for trainees and measures to improve work-life balance for those working on-call and additional shifts. The unions have also managed to
Members of the STAL trade union took strike action on 12 December in the Tratolixo inter-municipal waste company that covers four local authorities near Lisbon. Meanwhile STAL members in the Resinorte and Resiestrela waste companies (part of the EGF group) are planning strike action on 26 and 27 December. In both cases the union is pushing for respect for collective bargaining, an increase in pay and improvements in working conditions. At Tratolixo the demands include implementation of the 35-hour week, 25 days' annual leave and an allowance to take account of risky and onerous working
The public service federations of the CCOO confederation have called on the acting government to guarantee that the 2% pay increase, agreed as part of a three-year pay deal, will be paid on 1 January 2020 to all three million public sector workers. Formally a new government has yet to be confirmed and the acting public service minister is claiming that the increase cannot be confirmed but that it could be paid and backdated later in 2020. The union argues that the increase can be paid on the basis of a royal decree and say this needs to be done urgently as part of the union demands to win back
The Kommunal municipal and health services union has set out some of the main demands that it will pursue in the upcoming collective bargaining with municipal employers. The union will aim for a 3% general pay rise with an extra 0.5% to be used at local level for specific groups of vocationally trained workers in health, child and other care. It wants vocationally trained temporary workers to be offered a permanent contract after 12 months and is calling for a number of measures on working time. Among a range of demands, Kommunal wants to ensure full-time work is the norm and argues that the
Four health trade unions in Northern Ireland - UNISON, Unite, NIPSA and RCN - organised a day's strike action on 18 December to demand urgent action on pay inequality in the NHS. Health workers in Northern Ireland are the lowest paid in the UK and unions argue that pay parity will be a major factor in delivering safe staffing levels. EPSU sent a message of support. The unions are also planning or have organised other forms of industrial action as part of their campaign (see EPSU CB News 22 and 23).
The vpod/ssp public services has welcomed two initiatives on working time agreed with the BSH health and social care employers' organisation in the Graubünden/Grisons region. The BSH has agreed to the demand for time taken to change into and out of work clothes to be recorded as working time. This is a key demand in a national campaign being run by the union. Ten minutes a day is allocated to changing clothes but this may be adjusted depending on the outcome of a legal case in the Zürich region. The vpod/ssp also welcomes the decision of BSH to recommend a minimum of 25 days' annual leave to
Over 100 healthcare trade unionists from across the country came together last month to discuss the staffing crisis in the sector. Neither the prime minister nor minister of health were able to take part but health ministry officials did attend and were taken to task over the government's failure to address the issue and its claims that there were too many hospital beds and too few patients. The trade unionists underlined the challenges of poor working conditions and pay that were contributing to recruitment difficulties and the continuing problem of emigration of trained workers.
A long-running dispute in hospitals in North West England has been resolved with pay rises for workers employed by the outsourcing company Compass. Before the deal, Compass employees were on the national minimum wage (£8.21 per hour/EUR 9.65), while colleagues employed directly by the NHS were earning at least £9.03 (EUR 10.60). This meant Compass workers were losing out to the tune of around £1,500 (EUR 1760) a year (see EPSU CB News August 2019, 15). The agreement negotiated by UNISON and overwhelmingly supported by the workers means they’ll now receive a significant pay rise, more money for