2019 August epsucob@NEWS 16
IN THIS ISSUE
- Germany: Care employers commit to negotiate sector agreement
- France: Firefighters on strike over jobs and pay
- Croatia: Health unions threaten strike action over pay
- Norway: Unions work together to tackle part-time crisis
- Turkey: Union campaigns against dismissals
- Italy: Energy unions welcome three-year agreement on bonuses
- UK: Unions continue fight over pay and outsourcing
- Netherlands: Protest actions and working time agreement in health sector
- Austria: Union attacks care organisation for trying to outlaw strikes and protests
- Lithuania: Substantial increase in minimum wage
- Spain: Public sector still has high level of temporary work
- France: Civil servants hit by long-term pay freeze
Aug. 21, 2019 Seven trade union organisations, including the CGT, CFDT, FO and UNSA, representing 85% of all firefighters have been taking strike action to demand improvements in pay and for a significant increase in jobs. The joint actions began in June and are running until the end of August. The unions want to see the withdrawal of legislation on public service reform and a number of other measures to improve pay, health and safety, pensions and trade union rights. A key demand is an increase in recruitment on statutory conditions. There are 40000 professional firefighters. This is the same number as in 2009 but callouts have increased by 15% since then.
Aug. 21, 2019 Three unions - Fagforbundet, NSF and Delta - with a combined total membership of 560000, are joining forces to address the continuing problem of part-time work in health and social care. The unions say that around two-thirds of workers in the sector, employed mainly by municipalities - are on part-time contracts. This is a problem for many workers, making it difficult to make ends meet. The unions argue that the problem has been recognised at national level and some municipalities have taken action but they say the government needs to ensure that municipalities have the funding so that they can offer workers full-time contracts.
Aug. 21, 2019 The Hizmet-Is public service union has been running a major campaign for the reinstatement of 97 workers sacked by the mayor of the Bolu municipality in North West Turkey. No reasons were given for the sackings and the workers have been protesting for over 110 days and even marched the 200 km to Ankara in protest. EPSU has sent a letter of protest to the mayor asking for the workers to be reinstated. See also the campaign involving Genel-Is, fighting for the rights of workers sacked by the Aliağa municipality, reported in the previous issue of the newsletter.
Aug. 22, 2019 Public service unions are fighting for better pay from outsourcing companies and to stop further outsourcing. Members of the PCS civil service union are continuing their long-running strike to get outsourcers Aramark and ISS to pay the living wage. They are calling on government intervention to resolve the dispute. Meanwhile health workers in Bradford in the north east are threatening an all-out strike in protest at plans to transfer them to a wholly-owned subsidiary rather than retain them as direct employees of the National Health Service.
Aug. 22, 2019 Health unions were due to meet the government on 23 August to continue negotiations over the current collective agreement and previously agreed pay increases. The unions are threatening strike action if there is not a positive outcome and confirmation that pay increases included in the current collective agreement will be honoured. Pay increases of 3% (in August) for health workers in general and 4% (in October) for staff with diagnostic responsibilities are part of the annex to the collective agreement in force until 31 October. However, the government said it wouldn't confirm the increases, leading to an angry response from the unions and the current negotiations.
Aug. 22, 2019 Latest figures on public sector employment show that the overall level has still not recovered from the impact of austerity with 112100 fewer in public sector employment than in 2011. The data also show the scale of the two major problems facing the sector - a continuing high level of temporary contracts (28.2%) and an ageing workforce. Workers aged under 30 make up only 7% of the workforce with those over 50 accounting for 43.6%. Young workers are also more than three times as likely to be on a temporary contract (78.9%).
Aug. 22, 2019 The three energy unions - FILCTEM-CGIL, FLAEI-CISL and UILTEC-UIL - are very positive about a new three-year agreement on performance bonuses negotiated with the ENEL energy company. The agreement will see bonus payments increase by 6% overall - 3% in 2019, 2% in 2020 and 1% in 2021. The agreement also resolves some anomalies affecting middle managers and provides better protection for workers whose bonuses might be affected by maternity or paternity leave.
Aug. 22, 2019 The monthly and hourly minimum wage rates are set to rise by just over 9%, taking the monthly amount to EUR 607 and the hourly rate to EUR 3.72. The minimum wage is discussed in a tripartite council which takes into account a number of factors but the increases are also linked to specific targets - since 2017 it was stipulated that the ratio of the minimum wage to the average wage should be kept between 45% and 50%. It is also linked to trends in minimum and average wages across the European Union.
Aug. 22, 2019 An analysis of pay in the public sector reveals that the average civil servant has seen a cumulative loss of purchasing power of EUR 6000 since 2010 as public sector pay has failed to increase in line with prices. In the last nine years there have been just two increases in the index that sets civil servants' pay - only 0.6% in July 2016 and the same amount in February 2017. Taking a longer perspective, 20 years ago around 10% of civil servants were paid in a range between the minimum wage and 10% above the minimum wage. That percentage has almost doubled meaning that 1 million civil servants now fall into this pay range.
Aug. 22, 2019 Hospital workers have begun a series of protest actions to put pressure on the NVZ employers' organisation in difficult negotiations over a new collective agreement that covers 200000 workers. So far workers in hospitals in Amsterdam, Alkmaar, Assen and Eindhoven have taken part and the actions are set to spread. Meanwhile, workers at the Evean health and care company have won improvements in working time, notably guaranteed paid breaks and an eight-hour limit to the working day that are seen as important measures to help tackle overwork, stress and poor work-life balance.
Aug. 23, 2019 The GPA-djp private services union has strongly attacked the VKKJ organisation that provides care to disabled children for using an injunction to try to prevent its works councils from organising any kind of strike or protest to secure improvements in pay and conditions. The VKKJ has not signed up to the social services sector agreement and the works councils had successfully campaigned to bring pay at the organisation in line with that agreement but that's when VKKJ took the legal step. The union has offered to go to mediation but the employer has rejected this. The GPA-djp will strongly defend the case and the right to take action.
Aug. 23, 2019 Following talks with the BVAP eldercare employers' organisation, the ver.di services union has confirmed that both parties are committed to negotiate a sector collective agreement by the end of the year. They have also made it clear that they want the labour ministry to extend the agreement to cover all employers in the sector to prevent those paying low wages from undercutting the agreement. Ver.di and BVAP believe this is essential to ensuring decent pay in the sector and making occupations eldercare more attractive to workers.