Following their strike action on 9 December last year, the four unions that organise in public administration – Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp, Uil-Fpl and Uil-Pa – are continuing to mobilise to secure a new collective agreement and for investment in the modernisation of the sector. The unions are calling for action on staffing not just to increase recruitment overall but also to reduce the extent of precarious contracts and to improve and increase the provision of training. Furthermore, they want measures in place to guarantee workers’ safety in view of the persistence of the pandemic.
Safe and effective staffing levels
Quality public services depend on having safe and effective staffing levels. This is crucial in health and social services but is also important in a range other public services. It is also about ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff who are otherwise overworked and under pressure to cover for staff shortages. Recruitment and retention and training and continuous professional development are key elements in working to achieve and maintain safe and effective staffing levels.
The OSYE prison services union took six days of strike action at the end of February and beginning of March over key demands on safety and staffing. The union is particularly concerned about staff on long working hours and the massive backlog of rest days and holidays that are owed to workers who have done extra shifts to compensate for understaffing. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
A new study of the impact of the pandemic in social care in eight countries reveals the problems faced by social care workers and the extent to which trade union action has helped to address issues around personal protective equipment (PPE), sick pay, working time and understaffing. There has been a shortage of PPE in all countries, but it was only in Sweden that a trade union had to take legal action for its members' right to use personal protective equipment. Increased overtime was a challenge in all countries but with split shifts being a particular problem in Sweden. The pandemic exposed
Workers in the SEPE public employment services are set to take two days of strike action in March to demand urgent action to address understaffing and overwork. The workers are represented by the FAC-USO public service union which has written to the Minister of Labour warning of the exhaustion faced by staff who have faced the massive increase in work over the past year in dealing with additional benefit payments and processes related to ERTE company restructuring schemes. So far, the ministry has acknowledged the problem of staffing but has not proposed a concrete solution. The union
The SEP nurses’ union took part in a week of action (7-11 December) coordinated by the CGTP trade union confederation. For the SEP the key issues are precarious employment, recruitment and working time. The union wants to see all nurses on precarious contracts switched to permanent employment and argues that all nurses, regardless of contract, should accumulate points for their career progression. The SEP is also calling for increased recruitment, an end to 12-hour shifts and action to ensure a 35-hour week. Meanwhile, workers employed by the EGF waste company handed in a petition to the
The Fp-Cgil, Cisl-FP, Uil-Fpl and Uil-Pa public service federations are mobilising for the national strike on 9 December. The unions say that years of recruitment freezes have created staff shortages and mean that public services need around 500000 extra workers. The unions are also calling for action to increase permanent employment with around 170000 workers on precarious contracts. Health and safety are also vital with unions wanting action on personal protective equipment, reduced workloads and measures to tackle harassment. Finally, the federations are calling for a renewal of the
Following a government report on nursing and care, services union ver.di has called for urgent action for a long-term solution to understaffing across health and care institutions, particularly in light of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. In conjunction with hospital and care associations the union has already put forward a process for assessing staffing needs in hospitals and says that an academic proposal for evaluating staffing levels in eldercare has identified the need for an extra 100000 staff. Ver.di argues that measures are needed on training and pay and working conditions. It
Public services union younion joined with the GPA-djp and vida private services unions in a protest outside a meeting of the advisory council on early years education. Supported by the ÖGB confederation and Chamber of Labour, the unions expressed their disappointment that they weren't involved in the council which was set to make important recommendations that would affect the 61500 workers in the sector. The unions argue that the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of the sector and are calling for national quality standards, including staffing levels, to be introduced to end the
Public services union UNISON has called for a £2000 a year pay rise for all health workers in recognition of their continuing work and commitment in the fight against COVID-19. The union underlines the importance of giving health workers a boost before the end of the year particularly as the virus is in resurgence. The RCN nursing union has called for a 12.5% increase for nursing staff in an important step to help address the staffing crisis, in recognition of their skills and to compensate for cost of living increases. The GMB general union, meanwhile, is calling for a 15% pay increase again
A survey of 1600 care workers by the FNV trade union has revealed disturbing levels of concern about safety, overwork and low pay. Some 70% of workers feel unsafe because government measures to tackle the pandemic are not properly enforced and only 25% say they have adequate personal protective equipment for a second wave. Three in four say they have a high or very high workload and 90% feel they are not appreciated by government or politicians. Seven in 10 want a structural pay increase and not a corona bonus payment. They say this is essential to make the sector more protective and address
After negotiations dating back to November 2018 the public and private sector health and care unions (younion, GÖD, GPA-djp and vida) have secured a €34 million package of improvements to the pay and conditions of workers in the Upper Austria region. As of 1 February 2021 qualified nurses, midwives and clinical social workers will get pay rises ranging from €97 to €194 a month. Improvements to other conditions include a second night shift in care homes with more than 60 beds, additional support staff and the right to full-time work for part-time staff. The measures will be implemented directly
The national nurses' association is threatening strike action if the government doesn't agree to talks to address serious understaffing and low pay. The union says that there was already a shortfall of 1500 nurses before the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation has seriously deteriorated as the country has been hit by a second wave. Infection of health staff is increasing with around 1000 nurses now in quarantine while those at work are facing increasing workloads, long working houjs and greater stress. The government has promised some additional funding but the union wants to see urgent action