2017 January epsucob@NEWS 01
(January 2017) Trade unions and employers in the private sector have negotiated a two-year cross-sector agreement which is now up for approval by member organisations. The deal includes scope for a pay increase of 1.1% that would be negotiated at sector level but this would come on top of the 2.9% increase arising from the indexation of pay that continues to be applied at national level. The unions believe they have made some progress with the employers on a range of social issues, including early retirement, in stark contrast to the what they see as the negative approach of the government.
(January 2017) Employees at the Naturfidusen private childcare provider were not paid in December as the company went bankrupt. Public services union FOA also reported that another private care company had gone bankrupt taking the total to 36 since 2013. The union is concerned that increased pressure on municipalities to outsource these services will lead to more bankruptcies and more disruption and uncertainty for care workers.
(January 2017) The ETUC has called for 2017 to be year of the pay rise. The ETUC argues that a pay rise is fully justified to tackle rising inequality and in-work poverty, and to generate growth and recovery for all. The focus will be on negotiating higher pay through collective bargaining but there will also be campaigning on higher statutory minimum wages where they exist. The ETUC will be working with the European Trade Union Federations during the campaign. There is an initial conference on 14-15 February.
(January 2017) The government is supporting a bill that would require companies with 200+ employees to provide more transparency on pay so that workers can compare their pay levels and help tackle the gender pay gap. If the bill becomes law it will also require companies with more than 500 employees to regularly report on their pay structure to show that they are complying with equal pay rules. The gender pay in Germany is 21%, higher than the 16.5% average across the EU.
(January 2017) Following action last month, the CGT, FAFPT and FO unions have called for another day of action demanding improved pay and conditions for pre-school workers. The unions met with representatives of the ministry for public administration who expressed sympathy for the case put by the trade unions but failed to come up with concrete proposals.The unions point out that working time and other working conditions vary considerably across the country and the needs of this group of workers has been ignored by employers both locally and nationally.
(January 2017) Workers at the AWE nuclear weapons company are planning two periods of 48-hour strike action in protest at plans to close their defined benefit pension scheme on 31 January and replace it with a defined contributions scheme. The Unite union says that this decision goes against the commitment made to maintain the pension scheme when the AWE was privatised in the early 1990s. The Prospect trade union called off a strike in December on the basis that a process of conciliation would begin.
(January 2017) The latest Global Wage Report from the International Labour Organisation shows that, in 2010, the top 10% of European best-paid workers obtained 25.5% of total wages, while the lower half of workers got less than 30%.The report also notes the role that minimum wages can play in reducing the gender pay gap, recommending that social partners should have a role in determining the level of minimum wages.
(January 2017) Public sector unions signed a new collective agreement with the government last month providing for a 6% pay rise. The increase will be paid in three instalments - 2% from 1. January,2%1.August and 2% 1.November. This was part of an agreement that pay would increase once the economy grew by at least 2% over two quarters. SDLSN union leader Boris Plesa reported on these developments at the EPSU collective bargaining conference on 10-11 January.
(January 2017) The International Trade Union Confederation is committed to support its affiliate the CNTUK confederation in the face of the courts' decision to withdraw registration of the confederation and two of its affiliates in the health and social services sector. The authorities have also taken action against the general secrerary and seized confederation documents. The ITUC had previously written to the President complaining of the government's failure to comply with ILO Convention 87 in relation to the CNTUK.
(January 2017) In December forestry workers took to the streets demanding a delay in their forced transfer to the carabinieri police force. The transfer will deny them the right to strike. The government has not only gone ahead and abolished the state forestry service but has failed to respond to formal requests by hundreds of workers to be transferred to other parts of the public administration. The FP CGIL trade union is continuing to defend the workers through campaigning and legal action.
(January 2017) Last month the European Economic and Social Committee gave its backing in principle to the European Commission's proposed recast of the Posted Workers Directive. It noted in particular how the concept of "remuneration" might help ensure equal pay for equal work but on time limits suggested six rather than 24 months. The ETUC is coordinating lobbying work around the Directive which is being discussed in the European Parliament's Employment Committee with a deadline for amendments of 9 February.
(January 2017) Over 120 trade union representatives from across Europe took part in EPSU's conference on quality employment on 10-11 January. The debates covered how to define quality employment, trends in labour law reform in Eastern Europe, the ETUC's pay rise campaign, how to improve pay in the social care sector, workloads and staffing in prisons and hospitals, precarious work and social dialogue. The conference was organised with the financial support of the European Commission.
(January 2017) The latest issue of collective bargaining news from the European Trade Union Institute reports on some developments in the public services, including a pay rise negotiated at the CEZ electricity company in the Czech Republic, conflicts in the water and waste sectors in Hungary and a new report from the OSE research organisation looking at the impact of austerity
(January 2017) The health federations of the CCOO and UGT unions are calling on the government to provide permanent contracts to thousands of temporary workers and fill vacant posts across the health service. These are among several demands that the unions want to negotiate with the health minister over the coming year along with ending the replacement rate that prevents all vacancies being filled and returning to the 35-hour week.
(January 2017) Health services union ver.di has submitted a claim for a 6% pay increase with a minimum of EUR 150 for the 10000 workers employed by the Sana group of clinics. The private company runs 20 clinics that are covered by the company collective agreement. Ver.di argues that workers have helped the company achieve a signfiicant rise in profits and so should have their fair share.