2016 October epsucob@NEWS 14
(October 2016) The Eurofound research agency has published a new report examining the extent of the gender employment gap across Europe and indicating that on current progress it will take more than 30 years to bring women's employment rates up to those of men. The report also highlights some of the main measures that are required to increase women's employment, including increased affordable childcare provision, improved maternity, paternity and parental leave and more working time flexibility.
(October 2016) At a meeting with trade unions on 18 October, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman said that the issue of the wage system reform is one of the most important priorities of the Governmen, along with further increases to social standards. He said: ‘It is very important for us that every hryvnia that could be invested in improving the social standards should be used for that. It is our priority." The unions have welcomed a doublling of the minimum wage to UAH 3200 (EUR 115) from 1 January 2017.
(October 2016) The European Commission's 2017 includes plans to publish an interpretative communication and implementation report on the Working Time Directive. Proposals on the Directive have been expected for some time since the Commission carried out surveys and consultations in late 2014 and 2015. The Commission is proposing a non-legislative initiative that will provide legal clarity (see REFIT Scoreboard page 353). It talks of health and safety but also of "alleviating administrative burdens".
(October 2016) Unions in the public sector have set out their bargaining demands and reacted to the government's budget proposals, which they say don't go far enough to rrestoring cuts to pay and conditions since 2011. Higher salary increases, ensuring all workers across the public services are ensured a return to the 35-hour week and unfreezing career progression are among the main demands. Unions in the Frente Comum will be mobilising for a national demonstration on 18 November to support their claim.
(October 2016) The latest budget confirms government commitments to restoring some of the pay cuts introduced in 2009 and 2010 and to reduce the pensions levy also imposed as part of the austerity measures. Public sector workers are set to get a EUR 1000 pay rise in 2017 and a EUR 1000 reduction in the pensions levy. Public sector unions have welcomed the establishment of the Public Services Pay Commission as a contribution to the process of unwinding the austerity agreements and legislation covering public sector pay and conditions.
(October 2016) Services union vida is calling for urgent action to tackle serious understaffing in health and social care. The union says that lack of finance often means that while demand has increased significantly while employment has remained the same or even fallen. Employees are overworked and around 30% of workers in the sector are at risk of burnout.Vida wants to see statutory minimum staffing levels for health and social care taking out also of qualifications.
(October 2016) Unions want an end to restrictions on recruitment in the health service and a review of the staffing needs of the service in the light of population change and ageing. The imposition of replacement rates in 2010 led to falling staff numbers and an increase in the use of fixed term contracts to around 35% of all workersin the health service. Following the court ruling (see epsucob@NEWS 13) on temporary contracts unions want to negotiate measures to deal with precarious employment.
(October 2016) Despite promises of additional funding to cover public sector employment, the latest figures announced by the government are a major disappointment to all the public sector federations. FP-CGIL, CISL-FP, UIL-PA and UIL-FPL issued a joint statement that attacked the government for its short-sighted policies and failure to provide any opening for serious negotiations on pay, skills, productivity and innovation. The unions will be stepping up their mobilisation beginning with a national protest in Rome on 12 November.
(October 2016) Public service union JHL has written to local authority members across the country warning of many of the problems created by outsourcing. It quotes survey evidence indicating threats to service quality coming from cuts to jobs and working time as well as trends towards using less skilled staff. While noting that over 100 municipalities have brought services back in-house, JHL says there is still a trend towards outsourcing which, in healthcare, is now dominated by a small number of big companies.
(October 2017) EPSU is organising a collective bargaining and social dialogue conference in January 2017 with the theme of quality employment and quality public services. Several speakers have already been confirmed and more will follow over the coming days. Sessions will cover how to define quality employment, trends in public services, working time and work organisation, trends in labour code reform in Eastern Europe and job security and precarious work.
(October 2016) School support staff employed by Derby City Council in central England took further strike action on 20-21 October in their campaign to revese cuts in salary of up to 25%. Many of the workers are teaching assistants who will only be paid for their term-time work and thus those on level two will see annual salaries fall from GBP 21000 (EUR 23500) to GBP 15000 (EUR 16800) after already having a GBP 1200 (EUR1340) allowance cut in June.
(October2016) Municipal union Kommunal has negoitated a three-year collective agreement with KFO, the organisation that represents cooperative and non-profit organisations. The deal includes a SEK 500 (EUR 51) increase for all full-time workers in the first year then increases that match the going rate in industry.. But in order to address the lower pay faced by undervalued jobs predominantly done by women, the agreement includes additional increases for nursing assistants in each of the three years.
(October 2016) The ver.di services union is looking ahead to next year's negotiations for a new collective agreement covering employees in regional government. Along with a general pay increase, the union will be looking for some structural changes including revisions to the pay scale and measures to limit the use of temporary contracts. Ver.di will be organising regional and local consultations with members in preparing its negotiating priorities.
(October 2016)This new report from the ETUI research organisation argues that, for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), minimum wages are an effective tool for reducing inequality by raising the lowest incomes. The working paper also says that while minimum wages can have a limited role in increasing productivity and wage levels, they really need to be accompanied by a stronger role for collective bargaining in CEE countries.
(October 2016) After six months of negotiations the health unions from the CITUB and Podkrepa confederations have negotiated a new collective agreement with the Mnistry of Health and health employers that includes pay increases of between 15% and 40% for healthworkers. The increases are part of an attempt to stem the flow of trained staff out of the country and include a 30% increase on the minimum wage in the sector.