Collective Bargaining, Restructuring
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.
The three national trade union confederations – SAK, STTK and AKAVA – are extremely concerned about the new centre-right coalition government’s wide-ranging programme of attacks on trade union and workers’ rights and are planning events and protests in response. The government, which includes representatives of the far-right Finns Party is planning to impose restrictions on sympathetic and political strike action, a €200 fine for individual strikers when a strike is found to be illegal and a dramatic increase in fines on trade union for illegal action. It is also likely that further
The CGIL trade union confederation is organising a national demonstration in Rome on 7 October calling for a wide range of measures in support of workers and collective bargaining and in defence of the welfare state. CGIL is demanding higher pay and pensions to address the increased cost of living along with action to renew collective agreements and legislation to block the signing of agreements by unrepresentative worker organisations. The confederation is also calling for action to eliminate the gender pay gap and the introduction of a minimum hourly wage. The CGIL’s other demands cover
The ver.di trade union is running two weeks of action as part of its campaign to secure equal rights for workers employed by church organisations. Between 25 September and 6 October, union members will be out promoting the campaign petition with the aim of securing 4000 signatures. Currently church-based employers like the Diakonie and Caritas, organisations that employ hundreds of thousands of health and care workers, have special treatment under the law in relation to co-determination, collective bargaining and the right to strike. Ver.di wants this changed so that all workers have the same
The FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-FPL public service federations have called a one-day strike on 27 September to put pressure on the AIOP employers’ organisation to return to negotiations over the sector agreement covering private residential and care homes. The three unions normally negotiate with AIOP and ARIS, the employer organisation representing religious providers. AIOP, however, is aiming to negotiate a different agreement with the UGL trade union – an organisation outside of the three main confederations and with links to the far right – and the unions argue that this flies in the face of
The trade union-linked WSI research institute has published its annual overview of collective bargaining across Europe which it says “shows with alarming clarity that workers are the losers in the current wave of inflation: across Europe, the purchasing power of wages fell by 4.0% last year.” The report reveals that negotiated wages in the Eurozone rose by 2.8% in 2022, the second highest increase in over 20 years but the impact of inflation turned this into a 5.2% real terms decline, by far the largest fall over the same period. The report confirms that: “The long-term perspective makes it
For the first time, employees working at care facilities run by the Protestant church in Hesse in central-west Germany are mobilising to support their union ver.di in collective bargaining. The workers have only been covered by a collective agreement since April 2022 and so building support for their key demand – an increase of €450 a month – is a new experience. They managed to get over 550 signatures on a petition handed to management. In the past, pay and working conditions were simply laid down in church employment contract guidelines. The collective agreement negotiated by ver.di and the
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has published its annual review of trade union rights which again reveals a challenging environment for trade unions with 87% of countries violating the right to strike and 79% violating the right to collective bargaining. In Europe, Belarus, Turkey and Kazakhstan are again among the worst offenders with no guarantees for trade union rights. Seven European countries feature in the next worst category – systematic violation of rights – Greece, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia. The ITUC survey indicates that the situation
The trade union ver.di has launched a petition calling on the government to ensure equal rights for workers employed by church organisations. Currently special rules apply to the major protestant and catholic employers who employ around 1.8 million people and run many health and care services, including hospitals, nursing homes and services, facilities for the disabled and youth welfare, emergency services, daycare centres, etc. As, ver.di points out, these are financed almost exclusively from tax revenues and social security contributions. Employees of these bodies have fewer protections
Trade unions from the three main confederations – CGIL, CISL and UIL – are maintaining their campaign against the Anaste non-profit social services employer organisation for signing an agreement with unrepresentative trade unions. After a mobilisation in March, the unions have been busy lobbying regional authorities to get them to take action and put pressure on Anaste to negotiate with the representative organisations. The Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Piedmont regions have already taken some initiatives in support of the unions.
In a resolution on the Commission’s Communication and Council Recommendation on EU and national social dialogue of 25 January, the European Parliament calls upon the European Commission to increase its financial, legal and technical support for EU sectoral social dialogue.
A large EPSU delegation joined hundreds of other trade unionists from across Europe to celebrate 50 years of struggle for Europe’s workers and people. We ended the ETUC Congress with the election of a new team and the adoption of an action plan titled ‘Together for a Fair Deal for Workers in Europe’.
The FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-FPL public service federations are mobilising their members in the Misericordie emergency service provider. The unions are responding to the decision by the religious organisation not to re-negotiate a collective agreement and following the failure of conciliation. The federations are angry that Misericordie is not only failing to acknowledge the sacrifices made by their emergency service workers during the pandemic but are also creating disparities between their workers and others employed in the third sector that are covered by the collective agreement negotiated
In three separate disputes, members of the Fórsa and SIPTU trade unions have voted in favour of industrial action. In the ambulance service, SIPTU members voted with a 95% majority to back industrial action following the refusal of management to implement a restructuring plan that had been negotiated with and was fully supported by the union. Meanwhile, SIPTU members in the water sector will take strike action on 7 June unless there is a guarantee that their local authority pay and conditions will be protected when they transfer to a new employer, Uisce Éireann, a new standalone public utility