2016 August epsucob@NEWS 09
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) The planned industrial action in the ambulance service is due to go ahead on 10 August. The Health Service Executive failed to respond to key demands from the SIPTU trade union at their most recent meeting on 28 July. These include compensation due to ambulance workers under the Public Service Agreement, the implementation of a fully developed Intermediate Care Service as recommended by the Labour Court and the application of an annualised hours system. Read more at SIPTU.
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) The ver.di service union has negotiated improved pay, hours and holiday entitlement in a new collective agreement covering 50000 workers employed by the German Red Cross. Pay will increase by 2.4% this month with a further rise of 2.35% in March 2017 and the pay structure agreed in the public sector for social services workers will be adopted. Emergency service workers will see a gradual reducation in weekly working hours from 48 to 45 by 2019 while those with less than 10 years' service will also see their annual leave increase from 26 to 29 days over the same period. Read more at ver.di (DE).
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) The public sector federations of the CCOO and UGT confederations have set out some key collective bargaining demands. The CCOO federations put their proposals to the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration at the end of July calling for a re-establishment of collective bargaining, creation of 356000 jobs and an end to restrictions on recruitment. They also want to see a recovery of purchasing power for public sector workers, a return to the 35-hour week and recuperation of other cuts to pay and conditions made since 2010. The FeSP-UGT federation demands include a 3% pay increase for all public sector workers in 2017 in line with government forecasts for economic growth. Read more at FSC-CCOO (ES) and FeSP-UGT (ES).
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) Public services union Unison has called for action to protect homecare workers who are losing thousands of pounds in pay every year. Many homecare workers are not paid for the travel time between home visits and in one case supported by Unison a home care workers won £3250 (€3830) in compensation for underpayment. Unison says the government could easily close one loophole by changing minimum wage regulations and has also called for the government to publish a report into six major care companies and potential breaches of minimum wage rules. Read more at Unison.
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) The Trade Union News website reports that employer organisations are beginning a campaign against the generally binding nature of collective agreements. This is an important element of Finnish industrial relations ensuring that collective bargaining coverage is very high - 75.5% in the private sector and 100% in the public sector. The trade union confederations have made clear their support for the system which they argue prevents undercutting by unscrupulous employers. Read more at Trade Union News (EN). Also see a recent analysis by the ETUI.
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) The government has ignored trade union opposition and approved a decree to make the forestry service an arm of the Carabinieri, the military police force. The unions are extremely concerned about the loss of civil and trade union rights for the workers transferred and have challenged claims that the move will improve the efficiency of the service. The CGIL confederation and FP-CGIL public services federation are committed to fighting the transfer and have made clear they will use all legal avenues including potential industrial action by the workers affected. Read more at FP-CGIL (IT) and at EPSU (EN).
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) Unions representing health workers from both the CGTP and UGT confederations organised strike action on 28 and 29 July calling for implementation of the 35-hour week across the health sector. The unions are angry that the decision to return to the 35-hour week across the public sector has not been fully implement in the health sector where many workers are covered by separate collective agreements that continue to apply the 40-hour week. The unions involved were Sintap, FNSTFPS and SEP. The SEP nurses' union reported 75% and more support for the strike and plans further action. Read more at Sintap (PT), SEP (PT) and FNSTFPS (PT).
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) The IPSO trade union that organises workers at the European Central Bank (ECB) organised a demonstration on 14 July in support of negotiations over the status of 200-250 temporary staff currently worked for the ECB. The union is calling for temporary staff, many of whom have worked for the Bank for several years, to be offered permament contracts. The fear is that changes to German law on temporary agency work will lead to the ECB dismissing many agency staff. EPSU sent a solidarity message that was read out to the 120 workers who joined the demonstration. Read more at IPSO (EN) and EPSU (EN).
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) The ITUC global trade union confederation says that 2017 could see further attacks on workers' and trade union rights if proposals coming from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are pushed through by the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF) and accepted by the Greek government. According to the GSEE national trade union centre a 21-page directive sent to Greek officials includes measures that would cut the minimum wage for skilled and experienced workers by around 30% and change rules on strike action and union representation. Read more at ITUC.
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) The FOA public services union is planning strike action against the DK Pleje care company unless it agrees to negotiate a collective agreement. The company has so far refused to negotiate with FOA and is paying its workers less than other companies in the sector that apply the relevant collective agreement. This had lead to other companies being undercut and losing contracts with local authorities. One recent case involved BakkeBo Hjemmepleje which does negotiate with FOA but which lost out to DK-Care and as a result went bankrupt. Read more at FOA (DK) on the planned strike and the problem of social dumping in the care sector.
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) A recent report on several care institutions by the SWZ inspectorate looked at pressure of work, violence, working hours and other elements of safe and good working conditions. The results are being taken up by the care and welfare section of the FNV confederation as it prepares for the upcoming round of collective bargaining. The report found widespread safety violations relating to workloads ranging from 29% of workplaces in shelters and refugee centers to 55% in organisations dealing with the disabled. In the case of violence at work, incidents were recorded at 40% of hospitals but at up to 70% of institutions dealing with mental health and disability. Read more at FNV (NL).
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) A report by the IGAS social affairs inspectorate provides evidence that the reduction in working time implemented with the introduction of the 35-hour seek in 1998 lead to the creation of 350000 jobs over the next four years. The report has not been officially published but was leaked to the Mediapart organisation. The CGT trade union confederation has criticised the decision by the IGAS not to publish the report officially and argues that the analysis supports its call for a further reduction of weekly working time to 32 hours. The CFDT confederatoin has also called for a cut in working time over the working career and underlined the importance of negotiations in producing the additional jobs. Read more at CGT (FR) and France Soir (FR).
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) Local government union Vision reports that the latest analysis of pay inequality by the Swedish statistics agency (SCB) reveals a small fall in the gender pay gap. Men are now paid on average 13% more than women compared to 14% two years ago. The report also shows that even taking into account different professions and educational backgrounds there is still a 6% pay gap. Read more at Vision (SV).
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) A European Commission analysis of temporary employment across Europe not only reveals an increase in temporary contracts but shows a declining trend in transitions from temporary to permanent contracts. The analysis covers the period 2008 to 2014 and shows a drop in transition rates from temporary to permanent jobs in most EU countries and an increase in the transition rate from temporary jobs to unemployment in the majority of EU Member States. These changes in transition rates occurred alongside an increase in the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees in most EU countries. Read more at DG Employment.
Aug. 02, 2016 (August 2016) Pay deals at an average of 2.5% in the first half of the year were slightly below the same period last year but delivered a 2% real increase in pay with inflation at only 0.5%. This is the main finding of the regular analysis of collectively negotiated pay deals published by the trade union-linked WSI research institute, part of the Hans Böckler Foundation. The major deals during this period included the 2.4% awarded to federal and local government workers and the 2.8% in the metall sector. Read more at WSI (DE).