Don't forget to book your place at EPSU's collective bargaining conference (12-13 December, in Brussels). Low pay will be the key issue with a major discussion planned for the afternoon of the first day. A draft policy document will be presented to the conference by EPSU staff. Thorsten Schulten, a researcher with the WSI German trade union research institute will provide some insight into the main debates on low pay and minimum wages around Europe. Details of the conference are now on the EPSU website. Read more at > EPSU
Following a major national demonstration in Lisbon on 17 June, unions in the FNSFP public service federation have called a general strike in public administration for 15 July. The unions are opposing government plans for significant changes to working conditions in the public sector, including later retirement. The government argues that the cuts are necessary to reduce its budget deficit. Read more at > FNSFP
Workers at English Heritage, the public service body that looks after some of the UK's most famous historical monuments such as Stonehenge and Hadrian's Wall took two hours' strike action last month. They were protesting at an average 1.5% pay increase (inflation in the UK is currently at 3.4%). Read more at > PCS And at > Prospect
Doctors organised in the Marburger Bund trade union, were on strike last month in protest at plans by their regional government employers to raise weekly working hours and cut Christmas and holiday bonuses. The union is now planning a week of action at the beginning of August. Read more at > Marburger Bund
There were demonstrations and action around the country on 20 and 21 June as first energy workers took action in protest at the planned privatisation of EDF and GDF and then public sector workers joined with their private sector colleagues in a joint protest over a range of issues including the failure to make progress in pay negotiations.
The Greek civil service union ADEDY organised a four-hour stoppage on Friday 24 June while the local government workers' union POE-OTA are taking action today. Both organisations are protesting at government plans to reform the social security system. The ADEDY action was called to coincide with action in the private sector where the banking unions in particular are campaigning against the imposition of later retirement. Read more at > ERT news website
The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) has submitted a claim for an 8.2% pay increase from August this year. The union says that the increase will mean civil service pay will rise in line with average earnings across the whole economy (4.6%) plus compensate for two years of pay deals which have fallen 3.6% below inflation. In line with PCS and Prospect the main unions in the UK civil service, NIPSA is also calling for a £14,000 (21,000 euros) minimum salary. Read more at > NIPSA
Members of the CCOO union federation have moved into the fourth week of strike action at the Ministry of Justice. The strike was called in protest at the Ministry's failure to fully implemented collective agreements. Read more at > FSAP-CCOO
The latest response to the EPSU survey provides details of the 2005 agreement covering 4,000 workers in the Norwegian electricity sector - the companies still owned by local and regional government. The agreement runs from 1 June 2005 to 30 April 2006 and includes a 3.5% increase in pay which includes an estimate of the outcome of local negotiations. Inflation in Norway was 1.6% in the year to May, up from 1.3% in April.
Unions have expressed their concern at the level of fixed-term in employment in the public sector in Finland which at 24.2% is higher than the private sector at 12.7%. Overall Finland has the fourth highest rate of fixed-term employment in the European Union. Public sector trade unions are particularly worried about the fact that fixed-term employment affects more women than men in the public sector and is an obstacle to closing the gender pay gap. Read more at > EIRO
The EIRO industrial relations observatory has produced a review of the public utilities with a particular focus on electricity. The report looks at how the sector has been affected by privatisation, liberalisation and restructuring. Based on reports from 20 European countries it highlights the impact on collective bargaining, noting that restructuring has usually proceeded by negotiation and in many cases levels of unionisation have been maintained. [Read more at > EIRO->http://www.eiro.eurofound.ie/2005/02/study/tn0502101s.html] [And find the individual company reports at > EIRO->http://www
Workers in the Treasury and Tax administration in France took strike action on 7 July in protest at the reorganisation of their departments. The government claims that reorganisation is aimed at providing an improved service but unions argue that the plans are being carried in order to cut jobs. Read more at > FO
The unions involved in the FNSFP public services federation in Portugal report a very high level of support for the strike on 15 July. The action was called in protest at the government's plans for large cuts in public spending which would threaten workers' pay and conditions as well as leading to an increase in the retirement age. Read more at > FNSFP Read more at > STAL
The campaign to win an improved pay offer from local government employers in the Netherlands will continue over the summer. Fire service employees in Nijmegen, Utrecht and Amsterdam will all being working at a minimum level of service at various points over the coming weeks. Read more at > ABVAKABO
After several months of negotiations ABVAKABO FNV and the other unions in the sector (CNV public matter and FBZ) have concluded a new agreement covering child welfare workers. The agreement runs from 1 January to 31 December 2005. The salary increase of 1.5 percent will be paid as 1.0 percent from 1 January 2005 and 0.5 per cent from 1 September. Along with pensions and sick pay there are two other important parts of the agreement covering workloads and employer contributions of at least a sixth of the share of the costs of nursery spaces. [Read more at > ABVAKABO->http://www.fnv.nl/abvakabo