Members of the STAL municipal services union took strike action on 1 August in protest at the failure of the Braval waste company to increase pay in the face of soaring inflation. The publicly-owned company provides waste services across a range of municipalities in northern Portugal. The union says that there has been no pay increase for two years and it is calling for a minimum increase of €90 for all workers. It also wants the company to abide by the collective agreement particularly in relation to career progression and wage development.
Supporting campaigns, strikes and protests
Solidarity is a core area of our joint European trade union work There are common elements to many of the actions of public service unions as we fight for better pay and working conditions or when we defend trade union rights or protest against privatisation and attacks on public services. Any expression of solidarity is welcomed by unions and it can be a real boost to their campaign when EPSU, its affiliates and other trade union organisations, not only send messages of support but also messages of protest to companies, employers and governments. This briefing gives examples of our solidarity work in recent years.
After 11 weeks of strike action and more than 25 days of negotiations, health union ver.di and the six university hospitals in North Rhine Westphalia have agreed on the key points for a collective agreement that addresses excessive workloads and understaffing. The agreement will run from the beginning of 2023 and sets out the ratio of employees to patients required on each shift. If this ratio isn’t met or if other stressful situations occur, those affected receive stress points and then an additional day off for every seven points accumulated. In the first full year of implementation up to 11
Drivers, refuse workers and street cleaners continue to take action around the country to secure pay rises as inflation eats further into purchasing power. The Unite, GMB and Unison trade unions are all involved in a dispute with Serco the private contractor used by Sandwell council near Birmingham. Workers have voted for strike action on 28 and 29 July and then on 4, 5 and 8 August. They have rejected an 8% pay offer and argue that the company can afford a higher increase having seen profits soar by 25%. Refuse workers employed by Newham council in east London are being balloted for strike
The ver.di services union and IG BCE industry union have negotiated a new 21-month agreement with the Uniper energy company. There is a 3% pay increase for all workers and trainees from 1 July this year, followed by a 4% increase on 1 April 2023. There is also a change to the pay structure so that trainees taken on as employees are not placed on a lower starting rate. In contrast, negotiations in the GASAG gas company are much more challenging with ver.di calling a warning strike for 27 June after six bargaining rounds that have failed to bring the two sides closer together. The union’s
A first wave of strike action across the care and community sector has involved hundreds of workers joining picket lines and protests calling for pay rises that they have been denied for 14 years. The SIPTU union, along with public services union Fórsa and the INMO nursing union, are calling on the government to agree increased funding for the sector to cover pay increases. The unions argue that the pay rises are needed to keep workers in line with the public sector, aid recruitment to tackle staff shortages and so address the threat to the quantity and quality of services provided. The three
Health workers across Portugal took strike action on 1 July over a range of issues, not least pay increases to protect purchasing power. The SINTAP trade union highlights some of the key demands that include major issues relating to careers and career development, subsistence allowances, ensuring that all workers are on the single employment contract and strengthening the National Health Service in terms of both finance and staffing. Meanwhile, members of the STAL union joined the national strike in the ADP water company that is part of a long-running campaign to win improvements to pay
The SSM trade union federation organised strike action across the public sector on 22 June. With inflation hitting double-figures, the federation is demanding a 2806 denari net (€45.5) increase for public sector workers in line with the increase in the national minimum wage. The union has been negotiating with the government with a view to achieving a pay increase this year had understood that the government would sign a collective agreement including a pay rise and discussions on future increases. However, it then became apparent that the resources to fund the pay rise had not been included
Over 1500 employees of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) took part in a one-hour warning strike on 13 June organised by trade unions in the CITUB and Podkrepa confederations. The unions are calling for an increase on the basic salaries of all NHIF employees and the creation of at least 200 new full-time positions to ensure that the service can copes with new demand on the NHIF. The unions estimate that an extra BGN 10 million (€5.1m) is needed to cover these costs and wants to ensure that this is include in the NHIF budget for 2022. NHIF workers are highly qualified specialists
On 15 June the Labour Court in Bonn rejected an application by the local University Hospital to ban strikes being organised by the ver.di trade union. The strike action is part of what has so far been an eight-week campaign in six university hospitals in the North Rhine Westphalia region to secure a new collective agreement that addresses overwork and understaffing. The union wants a deal that covers all professional groups in the hospitals and has rejected an offer by the employers that would only cover nurses involved in direct patient care. Ver.di wants to see shift-specific minimum numbers
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%