Jul. 10, 2020 Public services union Fórsa believes that working time should be an important element of any discussion around telework/remote working. The union is preparing a response to a government consultation on remote working as well as a guide for negotiators. It is estimated that up to a third of employees in Ireland were remote working at the height of the COVID-19 emergency and the union now wants to ensure that conditions for telework are fully negotiated with proper safeguards and that emergency arrangements are not simply made permanent.
Jul. 09, 2020 After a lengthy campaign of protests and industrial action, unions have secured an additional €1 billion in funding from the federal government to improve pay and conditions for health workers. €500 million will go towards the implementation of a new pay system and harmonisation of pay in the private and public sectors. Unions estimate this will mean pay increases of 5%-6%. €400 million will cover additional staff to ensure a better staff/patient ratio and 10% of this amount will contribute to improved training. €100 million is allocated to improving working conditions, including in particular more permanent contracts and more hours for part-time workers. There will also be new rights to take three consecutive weeks of annual leave, a right to training in general but also for workers' reps and other measures covering pensions and action to reduce burnout. While unions have welcomed this initiative covering services funded at federal level, campaigning continues to put pressure on the other levels of government that are responsible for other health and social services.
Jul. 01, 2020 Unions organising in state administration in both Spain and Portugal have raised serious concerns about the approach to telework and particularly governments taking the opportunity to regularise arrangements that were only adopted on an emergency basis. While there is recognition of the potential benefits to work-life balance, unions argue that fundamental issues need to be addressed through collective bargaining in relation to working time, the right to disconnect, provision of equipment, health and safety, training, contact with the workplace and the voluntary nature of the decision to telework.
Jun. 17, 2020 The FeSP-UGT public service federation has sent a number of key demands to the public service ministry for a new agreement covering public sector workers. The union wants action on improving employment conditions and reducing precarious employment but also has a number of specific proposals on telework, noting that the estimated impact of COVID-19 has been an increase from 26,000 to more than 450,000 public employees doing telework. Among the key demands are action to balance security and flexibility with increased productivity; voluntary nature of telework; equality of rights with other workers; privacy, confidentiality, risk prevention, training and information; health and safety; working time and consultation. Meanwhile, the FSC-CCOO federation has denounced the fact that, more than a year after the entry into force of agreement covering 40000 workers in state administration, the government is refusing to increase salaries and the payment of accumulated pay arrears amounting to some 35 million euros. There is also a failure to establish new professional classification system. The union has called for an immediate confirmation of funding for the pay increase and says it will consider protests and mobilisation after crisis if this is not addressed.
Feb. 03, 2020 The collective agreement covering workers providing disability care has new elements to improve work-life balance. There is an annual hours system based on a 36-hour week for a full-time worker. This alllows for flexibility to help address peaks and troughs in the service but on the basis that employers have to abide by clear rules in both the collective agreement and legislation. Workers in the sector can also now look to the collective agreement to assert their right not to be contactable during their time off. The FNV trade union sees this as an essential measure to tackle increasing stress and burnout in the sector.
Jan. 29, 2020
The Social Dialogue Committee for central/federal governments approved the checklist of dos and don’ts on digitalisation and work/life balance, the key outcome of a two-year EC funded project.
Jan. 21, 2020 Unions in Norway and Sweden have put the focus on green issues in their current and planned negotiations with church employers. In Norway there is a commitment to address sustainability issues with the Norwegian church in an agreement that also includes measures to ensure a working environment that promotes health and also initiatives to reduce sickness absence. Meanwhile, in Sweden upcoming negotiations will include green measures along with a focus on a clearer process of pay determination and increased control over working time to improve work-life balance.
Dec. 19, 2019 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 employer should pay extra if it wants workers to do split shifts. It is demanding an extra day's leave for all workers and a 32-hour working week for night workers.
Dec. 18, 2019 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 block employer attempts to cut sickness insurance and payments. Unions will ballot their members over the agreement.
Nov. 28, 2019
On 19th November, the Social Dialogue Committee for central and federal government administration -SDC CGA- met in Brussels to discuss the implications of the recent EPSU Vs European Commission court ruling, and to formally adopt a new joint checklist of dos and don’ts on digitalisation and work-life balance, amongst other things.
Nov. 07, 2019 Research by the ETUC reveals that parents in seven EU member states will benefit from new rights as a result of the work-life balance directive that was adopted by the European Council in June. However, this will depend on national governments properly implementing the legislation over the next three years. Fathers in Italy, Croatia and Slovakia are set to receive paid paternity leave around the birth of a child for the first time ever while the directive should at least double the length of paid paternity leave in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania.
Oct. 24, 2019 The JHL public services union says that it will aim to negotiate pay increases for lower paid workers that are higher than those in industry as a step towards reducing the pay gap between the sectors. It says this is essential to tackle low pay in sectors dominated by women. It also wants the 24 hours of extra unpaid work introduced in the Competitiveness Pact to be paid or cut while measures on carers' and paternity leave will also feature in the next bargaining round. The union carried out a survey of 8000 members to help it plan its priorities and gauge support for industrial action.