Collective Bargaining, Strike
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 and this briefing gives an overview of the state of play in the main agreements in each country.
Following their massively supported national strike on 8 November, union federations in the waste sector are taking another day of action on 13 December. The unions have been calling for the renewal of the sector agreement which expired 29 months ago and to ensure it covers the whole of the sector. Employers are, however, are looking to undermine collective bargaining and trade union rights. They haven’t made any offer to increase pay or to compensate workers for the period since the expiry of the last agreement. Unions are calling for investment in the sector and the sectors’ workers and will
The JHL public services has organised strike action at the Arkea Oy municipal company, owned by the City of Turku. The union is challenging the company’s plans to switch employers' organisation and transfer around 1000 employees to a different collective agreement with poorer pay and conditions. Lower-paid workers could see their pay cut by 15%-30%. The city's group management has given the plan its blessing and discussions between the trade union JHL and Arkea have not yielded any results. The action began on 17 November with measures taken to ensure no risks to safety. The strike will affect
The two main trade union confederations – FGTB/ABVV and CSC/ACV – are jointly organising a national demonstration on 6 December. They want to raise the problem of defending living standards as inflation increases, particularly driven by soaring energy prices. The confederations want to ensure that there is real space for proper negotiations and are challenging the provisions of the 1996 law that restricts the scope for pay increases. In the recent biennial negotiations the margin for increasing pay above inflation was limited to 0.4%. The confederations also want to defend trade union rights
Services union ver.di has had mixed reactions to the coalition agreement between the social democrats, greens and liberal FDP party who are set to form the next government. The union sees some positive elements in relation to workers’ rights and collective bargaining including proposed measures to close any gaps in company co-determination and deliver the electronic right of access to workers for trade unions. The union has also welcomed the decision not to press ahead with plans that would have allowed for opening clauses for longer working hours and shorter rest periods via company
Public service trade unionists from Central, Eastern and South East Europe met online last week (16-17 November) to discuss the challenges they face in asserting their fundamental rights to organise, negotiate and take strike action and ensuring that all workers are protected by ILO or EU labour provisions.
As recovery from the pandemic is taking place several finance ministers have started to argue we have to go back to balanced budgets and reduce state debts. EPSU and many other unions argued at the ETUC mid term conference that we can not go back to austerity.
The Fp-Cgil, Fit-Cisl, Uiltrasporti and Fiadel trade union federations report very high levels of support for the national strike action in the waste sector on 8 November. They estimate overall that 90% of workers joined the strike with 100% coverage in some areas. The trade unions are determined to retain and renew the sector agreement and to incorporate a range of improvements. They want to ensure the agreement covers the whole sector including recycling plants and they are calling for action on safety, training, job classification and to ensure real increases in pay and other benefits.
The FGTB/ABVV trade union confederation will appeal against the conviction of 17 trade unionists for their involvement in a road block during the general strike of 18 October 2015. On 19 October 2021, the Court of Appeal of Liège confirmed the judgement pronounced in November 2020 by the criminal court, with the activists given suspended prison sentences of 15 days or one month and fines ranging from €1,200 to €2,100 euros. The judgment was based on the offence of "malicious obstruction of traffic" provided for in Article 406 of the Belgian Penal Code which had been used before to convict a
Trade unions in the Frente Comum federation of public service unions were due to go ahead with a day of strike action on 12 November despite the national budget for 2022 being voted down and the calling of a snap election for the end of January 2022. The unions are calling for a pay rise for public sector workers, implementation of the allowance for arduous and dangerous work, action to reduce precarious employment and a range of other measures to improve employment conditions. In contrast, the FESAP federation of public service unions has withdrawn its strike call for 12 November, arguing
Waste and cleansing workers in Sheffield in North East England and Glasgow in Scotland have been involved in industrial action over pay. The dispute in Sheffield is over a below-inflation pay offer from the contractor Veolia and the GMB trade union has called all-out action in response to the employer’s use of agency staff to try to undermine the action. The strike in Glasgow was also over pay and the attempt by the council to use the courts to block the action. It was supported by other workers and activists attending the COP26 climate conference. Industrial action by the UNISON public
The FNV and other unions that organise in the eight university medical centres (UMCs) are planning a third day of industrial action on 25 November unless the employers show willingness to re-open negotiations over pay, workloads and staffing. This will be the third day of action in the UMCs that employ around 80000 workers. The employers have said that they will negotiate over allocation of the extra €60 million of funding for pay provided by the government. However, the unions argue that even with the additional money this would still leave a below-inflation pay rise for the next three years