Social Services, Working Time
Negotiating and campaigning on working time
After pay, working time is core collective bargaining issue but is also an important area of employment regulated by national and European legislation. EPSU has been very active in defending and calling for proper implementation of the Working Time Directive and is involved in current debates on working time. The why and how of working time reduction is a guide produced for EPSU by the European Trade Union Institute and examines long-term trends in working time, the arguments for reducing it and examples of how this has been achieved.
The UNISON trade union is planning strike action at the St.Monica Trust care company in Bristol in south west England over threats to sack staff unless they accept a pay cut. The union says that more than 100 staff were told in March that they must accept inferior new contracts – costing them thousands of pounds a year and watering down their sick pay – or be fired. The first strike will take place on 29 June, with further action planned for 2, 5, 10 and 11 July. The company is threatening to cut weekend pay rates for senior care workers by 21%, while other staff are being asked to take a 10%
Fórsa and other public service unions have invoked a review clause in the current public service agreement in response to the surge in inflation. However, pay talks convened by the Workplace Relations Commission ended without agreement as the government proposals fell far short of 2021 inflation and projected 2022 cost-of-living increases. There are no immediate plans to reconvene the talks. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform had offered supplementary pay rises of just 2.5% for the period 2021-2022, despite expected annual inflation of at least 9% over the two-year period. Another
The public service federations in CCOO and UGT have renewed their call for the government to enter into negotiations over pay and conditions for all public service workers. They argue that the unilateral pay increase of 2% for 2022 needs to be reviewed and a multi-annual agreement negotiated covering pay and other conditions, including the various rights and benefits cut during the period of austerity. Meanwhile, FSS-CCOO and FeSP-UGT have welcomed the court ruling that will require companies in residential care to pay the 6.5% pay increase as established in the sector collective agreement.
Social Dialogue Training Programme: how to develop independent social dialogue structures in social services
As part of the FORESEE project, EPSU has co-led two trainings on how to develop independent social dialogue structures in social services in the last month, alongside the Social Employers and other project partners.
This week, the EPSU Childcare Network met to discuss monitoring and evaluation of early childhood education and care, the capacity of ECEC systems to welcome Ukrainian children and ECEC staff, and child : staff ratios.
After several weeks of conflict, rallies and the threat of strike action, the HSMCTU health union, with the support of the GTUC confederation, secured an agreement from the Ministry of Health that it would not introduce a 12-hour work schedule for paramedics. The Ministry also agreed to remunerate employees’ overtime work and to have further meetings with the union to discuss how to increase salaries. The dispute had arisen following the Ministry’s decision to remove a wage supplement that had been introduced during the Covid pandemic and its plan to introduce a 12-hour work schedule
The HK Kommunal local government union reports that negotiations are underway to make the four-day week permanent at the Odsherred municipality, north west of Copenhagen. An experimental scheme began in 2019 with the standard 37 hours worked on Monday to Thursday, leaving Fridays off. The view of staff is generally positive and the negotiations may involve the option for greater flexibility in terms of the weekly day off. Meanwhile, there are new developments in the global 4-day week campaign with the launch of pilot projects involving over 3300 workers in 70 companies in the UK. In contrast
After three days of bargaining the ver.di services union has negotiated an agreement with the VKA municipal employers that goes some way to address the undervaluation and overwork of staff in social and educational services. The union thanked its members for mobilising to achieve the result in the face of considerable resistance from the employers. Over 40,000 ver.di members took action in the week leading up to the latest negotiations. The agreement will provide employees with two additional days off as well as the option to convert part of their salary into two further days off. Educators
The Super and Tehy health unions are maintaining their ban on overtime and shift changes following their rejection of the proposed deal for health and local government. They continue to press for higher pay increases as essential to help tackle the urgent staff shortages in health and social care. Meanwhile, municipal unions JHL and Jyty are also keeping up their industrial action despite their provisional approval of the agreement. They are pushing for the agreement to be finalised and for the expected payments to be made by the summer, arguing that workers could lose out by over €300 if pay
Municipal unions are pushing for the right to full-time work across the sector to tackle what they see as excessive use of part-time contracts. The FOA trade union has calculated the financial implications of full-time (37 hours a week) work for different occupations working different hours. For example, a social and health care assistant, who today is 41 years old, can increase their lifetime income (including all allowances and pensions) by DKK 5.3 million (over €700,000) by working full-time instead of 25 hours. Even older workers would see a real difference with a 51-year-old cleaner able