2020 EPSU Collective Bargaining News March 05
IN THIS ISSUE
- Belgium: Strike action over staffing levels at Orpea eldercare home
- Austria: Health unions keep up the pressure for a 35-hour week
- Finland: Health unions aim for 10-year plan to boost salaries
- Ireland: Home care workers get pay restoration but other workers continue campaign
- Portugal: Public sector unions plan strike action on 20 March
- UK: Agreement on pay and staffing in Northern Ireland
- Europe: ETUC reveals decline in collective bargaining
- Denmark: Union calls for overhaul of eldercare staffing requirements
- Switzerland: Union calls for proper regulation of childcare facilities
- Europe: ETUC action highlights need for legislation on gender pay gap
- Ukraine: International solidarity puts pressure on government over labour reforms
Mar. 05, 2020 Members of the CNE and SETCA trade unions working at an eldercare home in Waterloo, south of Brussels, took strike action on 3 March to put pressure on management in advance of a conciliation meeting. The unions have been calling for action on staffing levels and say that currently employees are under so much pressure that they can only spend 16 minutes with each resident. Representatives of EPSU joined the picket. The home is run by the Orpea multinational and messages of solidarity were also sent from the ver.di union in Germany.
Mar. 05, 2020 The vida and GPA-djp private services unions are planning further strike action and a national demonstration to keep up the pressure on health and social service employers to deliver on a 35-hour week. There have now been seven rounds of bargaining with the employers still failing to deliver an acceptable offer to the trade unions. The negotiations cover 125000 workers and vida and GPA-djp are calling for implementation of a 35-hour with no loss of pay and with appropriate increases in staffing. The national demonstration will take place on 10 March and next negotiations will be on 26 March.
Mar. 05, 2020 With many collective agreements now finalised in the private sector with a going rate of 3.3% over 25 months, attention is shifting to the public sector where unions are looking for higher pay deals for the lower paid and for health and care workers. TEHY and Super, the main unions representing health and social service workers are aiming for an additional 1.8% and a 10-year programme of increases above the average for the technology sector, which is seen as a key benchmark. The unions recognise that additional government funding will be needed to cover the pay increases. They also want a separate agreement to cover the 170000 health and social care workers that are currently part of the general municipal agreement.
Mar. 05, 2020 The SIPTU and Forsa trade unions organised strike action across publicly-funded (Section 39) health and social services organisations on 21 February as part of a long-running campaign to get workers' pay restored following the cuts that were implemented as part of austerity measures. Many of these workers do the same or similar jobs as directly employed public servants who have seen their pay restored. The threat of strike action lead to a deal for around 500 home care workers who suspended their action, but many other workers are continuing their campaign to try to secure an agreement.
Mar. 05, 2020 The FESAP and Frente Comum federations of public sector trade unions are planning strike action on 20 March in protest at the pay increase implemented by the government which is worth only 0.3% for most workers. The FESAP federation is also planning a number of other initiatives including testimonies of individual workers about the difficulties they face as a result of the long-term pay freeze and low increases that they have suffered. These will be sent to the government. A national action is also planned for 19 March and conference on the future of the public service on 30 March.
Mar. 05, 2020 The UNISON, Unite and RCN health trade unions have voted to approve a new agreement on pay and staffing in Northern Ireland. The three unions were involved in various forms of industrial action at the end of last year, including the first full strike action in the RCN's history. The unions now have agreement that pay rates in Northern Ireland will be increased to be in line with those in England and measures will be discussed to increase staffing. A fourth union NIPSA did not support the pay deal but recognises that there was a majority vote in favour. In the meantime it is continuing its campaign around staffing levels, particularly in social services.
Mar. 05, 2020 The ETUC has revealed the latest data showing the decline in collective bargaining coverage across Europe. The ETUC has been pressing the case for action on wages and collective bargaining and set out a range of key demands and red lines in its submission to the European Commission's consultation on fair minimum wages. Figures from the University of Amsterdam show that 3.3 million fewer workers are covered by collective bargaining compared to 2000. The biggest percentage declines have been seen in Romania, Greece and Bulgaria.
Mar. 05, 2020 The FOA trade union highlights figures from the VIVE research organisation that show massive variations in staffing levels in eldercare establishments across the country. The staff to resident ratio at night ranges from 1:8 to 1:41, while the evening shift ratio varies from 1:2.7 to 1:11. The variation of ratios on day shifts is less dramatic but still ranges from 1:1.4 to 1:4.2. FOA argues that the varying needs of residents can't account for such variations and that in many cases homes have failed to increase staffing to cope with the higher demands of older residents with health problems. The union is calling for national standards to tackle the problem.
Mar. 05, 2020 The vpod public service union is calling on the Zürich city council to take the lead in properly regulating childcare facilities. The union is particularly concerned that for-profit providers are failing to protect children's welfare or comply with labour legislation. The Trotzphase campaigning group within the union has been campaigning for a collective agreement for the sector and a range of other measures to improve pay and conditions. Vpod says that city, regional and federal authorities have been passing the buck between them and it is now time for action.
Mar. 05, 2020 The ETUC used an event in Brussels on 25 February to underline the need for legislation to end pay secrecy clauses, deliver compulsory annual pay audits and the right for workers to request gender pay information from their employers. While information helps, the ETUC also stresses that it is not enough to end inequality in pay and that a directive is needed to empower women workers and their unions to negotiate the changes needed to ensure equal pay in the workplace. Representatives of EPSU joined the action.
Mar. 05, 2020 Co-ordinated international solidarity and a delegation of European and international trade union leaders have helped push the government towards revising its labour law reforms. The changes announced by the government at the end of last year would have seriously undermined trade union and employee rights and Ukrainian trade unions have been campaigning solidly against the proposals. The international delegation met a number of ministers and secured a commitment that the reforms would be revised to ensure that they are in line with International Labour Organisation conventions.
Mar. 05, 2020 Trade unions have reacted angrily to the decision by the government to curtail debate over pension reforms by using a constitutional mechanism to pass legislation by ordonnance rather than the normal parliamentary process. Some unions organised demonstrations across the country at short notice to underline their continuing opposition to the reforms. Others were concerned about the method used to close down debate when there are still major issues still to be resolved, particularly in relation to pension for workers in arduous occupations.