Collective Bargaining, Health
Collective bargaining – trends and developments
Collective bargaining is a core activity of trade unions and EPSU’s affiliates negotiate with public service employers at every level. This can range from national public-sector wide bargaining to sector and local negotiations with public sector employers but also private and non-profit providers of public services. EPSU works with the European Trade Union Confederation to try to improve collective bargaining rights for all workers across Europe. We also act as a European information point so that EPSU affiliates are aware of trends in public service negotiations. EPSU’s collective bargaining newsletter provides regular updates on developments across Europe.
A national demonstration of health workers foreseen to take place in Belgrade on 23 November was cancelled as the GSZSZ Nezavisnost trade union reached agreement with the government on a number of key demands on pay. The aim is to get the ministry of health to sign a new regulation on salary coefficients that would define the common basic salary for all workers in the healthcare sector. The union argues that this would be a significant improvement on the current situation where the five basic salaries for different professions in the healthcare are not viable. The union is also calling for
On 2 November, around 4,000 health workers in the southern canton of Herzegovina-Neretva began strike action in support of a demand for a 30% salary increase over the next two years. During the strike action only urgent cases are being admitted to the facilities affected. The workers’ union blames the government for the poor state of the health sector and low salaries and is committed to striking until a comprehensive collective agreement is signed. The cantonal government appointed a negotiation team to address the workers' demands. Despite a tentative agreement to a 30% salary increase
Alongside action by the CGIL and UIL confederations, the CISL trade union confederation is planning a national protest in Rome on 25 November over the government’s budget for 2024 and its refusal to engage with the trade unions. Together with demands for increased funding for public services, CISL wants to see action on staffing and measures to reduce precarious work. It also wants the government to commit to negotiating new collective agreements in the public sector. The mobilisations by UIL and CGIL continue with regional stoppages planned for 24 and 27 November and 1 December.
The second round of negotiations covering the 130,000 employees in the private health and social care sector ended after 10 hours without result. The employers didn’t improve their offer of 8.8%, well below the demands of the GPA and vida trade unions for 15% with a minimum increase of €400. They argue that 8.8% is just too low to make the industry more attractive and to address the fact that average pay in the sector is 22% below the national average across the whole economy. A national works council conference was set for 20 November where the unions would discuss further measures, including
Trade unions in municipalities, including the FNV, have negotiated 15-month agreement that runs to 31 March 2025 and provides a 6% pay increase. There will be a 4.75% increase on 1 January followed by 1.25% on 1 October. While most lower paid employees are on €16 or above a few are still on the national minimum wage of €15.92. The FNV is committed to secure a higher minimum wage in local government. The agreement includes an additional day of non-statutory leave as of 1 January 2025, taking the total to eight. While the early retirement scheme is made more accessible, the union is disappointed
The leadership of the INMO nurses’ and midwives’ union held an emergency meeting on 10 November to discuss possible industrial action in response to the announcement by the Health Services Executive that it was extending its current recruitment freeze to almost all nursing and midwifery grades until the end of the year. The union said that the announcement came without documentation or consultation with the union and a request for a meeting was declined. INMO calculates that there are currently around 2,800 nursing and midwifery vacancies in the health service, which urgently need to be filled
The health unions CGT Santé et Action Sociale, FO Santé and UNSA Santé et Sociaux organised protests and strike action on 16 November in support of a range of demands for better pay and conditions, action on staffing and other issues. The unions are demanding measures to improve training and recruitment; a general pay rise; gender equality; increased funding for facilities and staff and a halt to all closures of establishments, services and beds. Better early retirement pension provision for arduous work and withdrawal of the new law on pensions were also part of the demands. EPSU sent a
The International Trade Union Confederation has welcomed the decision of the governing body of the International Labour Organisation to refer the question of the right to strike to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). There has been a a long-standing dispute between workers’ and employers’ representatives related to the right to strike and the extent to which it derives from the ILO conventions on the freedom of association (87) and the rights to organise and collective bargaining (98). The issue will now be addressed by the ICJ and the ITUC hopes this will unblock the impasse that has
Managing Safe Staffing levels, task shifting and wages on the agenda for discussion at the 4th Health Care Assistants Network Meeting
The Healthcare Assistants network (HCA) met virtually to discuss ongoing issues regarding safe staffing levels, HCA wages, and the overall HCA situation in Europe at the moment.
The JHL public service union is organising a series of one-day political strikes as part of the continuing campaign by the trade union movement in protest against government policy. The unions are challenging government proposals on changes to welfare and employment rights and threats to weaken the right to strike and impose restrictions on pay bargaining. The strikes will hit different regions over the three-day period 7-9 November. A range of services will be affected including sports facilities, waste services, laundry and catering services, public transport and energy. So far the
The CMKOS trade union has called a day of action for 27 November in protest at government policies and the threat of austerity, including cuts to public service pay. Public service unions also organised a press conference to express support for the demonstration and targeted strike action, recalling the negative impact of fiscal consolidation after the financial and economic crisis in 2009. The OSSOO state workers union and OSDLV woodworkers’ union will be among the five unions organising an hour’s stoppage on the day with all CMKOS unions mobilising for protests around the country. The OSZSP
The FP-CGIL, UIL-FPL and UIL-PA public service federations are coordinating strike action on 17 November as part of a series of strikes and protests organised by the CGIL and UIL confederations. The unions are angry about government economic and social policy, the proposed state budget for 2024 and the refusal of the government to consult with unions. The public service strike will be followed by action in other sectors on 20, 24 and 27 November and 1 December. There was also a one-day strike by FP-CGIL and UIL-PA members at the INL National Labour Inspectorate on 30 October. This was part of
The GÖD and younion public sector unions have been involved in the second round of bargaining over pay with the aim, as usual, to ensure that all public sector workers get a pay increase from 1 January. Alongside the surge in the cost of living the trade unions are underlining the increased burdens taken on by many workers, often as a result of staff shortages, as strong justification for a sustainable salary increase. The unions’ demands have been supported with a letter to the government negotiator from the head of the ÖGB trade union confederation. This highlights the massive contribution