Jun. 05, 2020 Trade unions, including FNV and NU'91, have agreed a set of guidelines on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers in nursing homes and those providing home care. This comes after union concern that existing guidance was unclear and created to confusion at the workplace. The unions and employers are also working together to ensure that there is sufficient PPE available not just to ensure that the guidance is applied in practice but also to provide for those workers who ask for PPE in other circumstances. Meanwhile in the central government sector negotiations on a new collective agreement are due to start on 11 June having been postponed from March. The current agreement will continue to apply even beyond its 1 July expiry date.
May. 29, 2020 The FNV trade union argues that the failure of the government to issue clear guidance personal protective equipment (PPE) means that many employers are not providing all health and care workers with the necessary protection. An FNV survey found that 60% of staff in nursing homes and home care lack protection and even a third staff in hospitals don’t have enough PPE. Non-nursing staff in particular unprotected and practice varies significantly from employer to employer with some saying they won’t provide PPE until the government issues a directive. FNV is planning to call for a one-off bonus for care staff in the short term, but also better wages and terms of employment in the longer term. There are already signals that healthcare institutions are expecting financial shortages but the union argues that this should in no way be used to deprive healthcare staff of the financial rewards they deserve. FNV (NL)
May. 04, 2020 The FNV trade union has again criticised the failure to provide adequate personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing for health staff. The unions says that at least nine health workers have died as a result of the virus and that measures still need to be taken to ensure that safety is prioritised. The FNV also argues that this is a longer term problem and the involvement of employees in safety protocols is essential. Meanwhile the union has confirmed that the collective agreement covering social workers has been declared generally binding and so covers all workers in the sector. The two-year deal runs to July 2021 and includes pay increases of 3.25% for both 2019 and 2020 along with the same increases for holiday allowances and end-of-year bonuses.
Apr. 09, 2020 The FNV public service union wrote to the government on 7 April raising serious concerns about the situation in care homes with many lacking personal protective equipment (PPE). While many care workers face long hours, the union has also raised the issue of other workers seeing their hours cut. This arises if home care workers are asked to stay away by their clients and/or they cannot provide care because of lack of PPE. The FNV is clear that neither of these is the fault of the employee and so cuts in hours should be out of the question. It argues that many workers in this situation can be transferred to other work. The union has also announced that the collective agreement for the sector was declared generally binding on 8 April and so covers all employers in the sector, not just those who are members of the VVT employers' organisation. The FNV has raised similar issues in the health sector, again with concerns over PPE but also over the need to clarify health and safety protocols which are currently unclear as to what a worker should do if concerned about infecting or being infected by a patient. The FNV highlights the fact that many staff were already under pressure before the crisis and mental strains have only increased and that this needs to be recognised by the government. The union has called for improved pay and working conditions, a guarantee that funding will be maintained across the system and that all planned restructuring is put on hold.
Feb. 21, 2020 The FNV trade union has negotiated a new 12-month agreement covering around 7000 workers in the waste processing sector. There will be a 3.75% pay increase with 2.75% paid in January and 1% in August along with a one-off payment of EUR 125. Two hundred workers on flexible contracts will be offered permanent jobs. There are also improved provisions for training and there will be talks over pensions and more possibilities for early retirement related to the arduousness of the job and length of service. The young workers' pay rate (18) will rise from 85% to 87.5% of the full adult rate.
Feb. 03, 2020 The collective agreement covering workers providing disability care has new elements to improve work-life balance. There is an annual hours system based on a 36-hour week for a full-time worker. This alllows for flexibility to help address peaks and troughs in the service but on the basis that employers have to abide by clear rules in both the collective agreement and legislation. Workers in the sector can also now look to the collective agreement to assert their right not to be contactable during their time off. The FNV trade union sees this as an essential measure to tackle increasing stress and burnout in the sector.
Jan. 21, 2020 Employers have made a disappointing offer in the opening of negotiations covering maternity nurses with an increase of only 2.75% for 2020 on the table, along with a change to mileage allowances. In contrast, the union side has a much more ambitious range of demands including a 5% wage increase for 2020, reimbursement of all travel time, waiting shifts paid as contract hours, an increase of the end-of-year bonus from 6.2% to 8.33% and reimbursement of all training costs.
Jan. 06, 2020 A telephone hotline set up by the FNV public services union in early November was used by over 500 people, many of whom revealed disturbing information on the situation facing trainees in the care sector. There was evidence of trainees used effectively as full-time employees to cover for holidays and sickness, being required to carry out tasks on their own for which they had not been fully trained and having responsibility for other trainees and temporary workers. There were also indications of inadequate supervision and supervisors lacking time to provide adequate support. The FNV has provided information to the SBB organisation that monitors the performance of companies providing training in the sector.
Dec. 18, 2019 Following industrial action and the first ever national hospital strike, trade unions have negotiated a new 27-month collective agreement that includes a 5% pay increase from 1 January 2020 and a further 3% from 1 January 2021. Around half of hospital employees work irregular hours and they will benefit from a new allowance which will add a further 2.5% to their pay. All employees will also get a EUR 1200 pro rata lump sum. The agreement includes higher pay for trainees and measures to improve work-life balance for those working on-call and additional shifts. The unions have also managed to block employer attempts to cut sickness insurance and payments. Unions will ballot their members over the agreement.
Dec. 02, 2019 Workers in the nursing home and home care sector are covered by a new collective agreement running from 1 July 2019 to 31 August 2021. There will be a 3.5% pay rise by 1 June 2020 followed by a 3.0% increase on 1 July 2021. An increase in the end-of-year bonus has been brought forward and workers will get a full 13th month salary this year. The agreement also includes a commitment to have 90% of all employees in the sector on permanent contracts. There are other measures to allow workers to exchange pay for more time off and special measures for more time off in the lead up to retirement. The Ministry of Social Affairs will be asked to make the agreement generally binding for the sector and so covering employers that are not members of the employers' organisation that negotiated the agreement.
Nov. 21, 2019 The FNV, NU'91 and other unions representing hospital workers organised the first ever day of national industrial action in the sector on 20 November. Workers in 119 institutions took part, delivering the equivalent of a Sunday service but maintaining emergency provision. The unions are trying to put pressure on the employers to deliver a new collective agreement that addresses pay, workloads, pensions and work-life balance issues. There was also a national event in Utrecht where a petition was delivered to the head of the employers' organisation. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Nov. 05, 2019 Health unions FNV and NU'91 report that very high levels of support are building for the first ever national hospital strike set for 20 November. The unions initially expected action to be organised in around half of hospitals and clinics but the level of anger among workers means that strike action in non-urgent services is being planned in over 90% of institutions. The unions are looking for a 5% pay increase for 2019 and additional payments for workers who are called in to work at short notice (see EPSU Collective Bargaining News 20, October).
Oct. 22, 2019 Unions representing hospital workers, including FNV and NU'91, are planning the first ever national hospital strike on 20 November when non-urgent facilities will be closed. The unions are trying to put pressure on the employers to improve their latest offer in negotiations over a collective agreement covering 200000 workers. The unions want a 5% pay rise for this year plus extra payments for workers who have to work additional hours at short notice. The employers want a longer-term deal, offering the equivalent of a 2.8% increase a year but also want to reduce health insurance and sickness benefits.