Oct. 26, 2018 The vpod/ssp public services union has won an important victory in the federal court ensuring the right to strike for health workers. The union took the case because in November 2017 the Fribourg regional (canton) parliament introduced a strike ban covering health workers. The workers had been involved in a number of actions to stop outsourcing and the deterioration of the working conditions, prompting the initiative from the regional parliament.
Jul. 20, 2018 The vpod/ssp public services trade union is part of a massive mobilisation among trade unions and women's group for a national demonstration on equality in Bern on 22 September. With a gender pay gap of 20% and a gender pensions gap of 37% the unions are calling for urgent action to tackle inequality and discrimination, involving legal measures and strong sanctions to force employers to address the problem. The ssp/vpod will also be highlighting the undervaluation of "women's" jobs, particularly those in the health and social services sectors.
Jun. 01, 2018 Hundreds of hospital workers in Fribourg in western Switzerland took strike and protest action on 22 May to defend their pay and conditions. The workers, members of the vpod/SSP public services union were concerned that plans to remove health workers in the region from coverage by the law on state employees would lead to a deterioration in their pay and conditions. The following day the region's Grand Council announced that it wouldn't be taken the proposal any further, marking a significant success for the union and this unprecedented action by health workers in the region.
Mar. 21, 2018 The vpod/ssp public services union has criticised the federal government for rejecting an initiative on care launched by the nurses' trade union without coming up with any alternative solutions to tackle the increasingly urgent situation in the sector. The vpod/ssp says that hospitals and care homes face a 10000 staffing shortage with many health and care workers facing excessive working hours and work pressure that is a threat to their own health. The union says that the government must face up to the need to tackle this crisis and ensure working conditions that protect the health of care workers and stem the flow of workers out of the sector.
Feb. 21, 2018 The vpod/SSP public services union has called on the government to ensure it budgets for a pay increase of at least 1.5% for all federal employees. Working with other public service unions, the vpod/SSP says the government should now end its austerity policies towards its employees, particularly in the light of a CH Fr 5 billion surplus. The unions are worried that the government will use the surplus to cuts taxes and argue that federal workers haven't seen a real increase in pay since a 0.7% rise in 2014 and so a pay rise should be a priority.
Dec. 14, 2017 On 11 December hundreds of employees of the Zürich cantonal (regional) government mobilised in a demonstration over pay. Their union, vpod/ssp, said that a survey of members had revealed widespread dissatisfaction over pay and the loss of purchasing power over recent years. A key negotating demand from the unions as a first step in restoring real pay levels is a 2% increase for all workers earning up to CH FR 100000 a year, with a 1% increase for those earning above that level.
Nov. 17, 2017 The ssp/vpod public service union is mobilising again to defend the right to strike for care workers in the Fribourg region. The proposal for the ban is coming from right-wing MPs in the cantonal parliament despite the fact that the union had successfully negotiated with the state council to preserve care workers' right to strike (see epsucob@NEWS 15 and 17 in September). The union called for a big protest outside the Grand Council on 17 November.
Sep. 26, 2017 Protest action and a petition promoted by the vpod/ssp public services union and supported by other trade unions, political parties and civil society has led to a change to draft legislation in the Freibourg/Fribourg region that would have removed the right to strike for care workers (see epsucob@NEWS 15, 2017). The union said that the mobilisation of care staff had been important for the outcome and reinforces the importance of the right to strike in underpinning the unions' ability to negotiate effectively.
Sep. 01, 2017 The SSP/vpod public services union is campaigning with political and other organisations to defend the right to strike in the care sector. In proposed revisions to the law on the care sector, the government of the Fribourg region in western Switzerland plans to ban strike action. The union says this will deprive over 6000 workers (4000 in the public sector and 2500 in the non-profit sector) of the right to strike.The campaigning organisations have been collecting signatures for a petition and demonstrations and other action are planned if the region doesn't revise its proposals.
Aug. 15, 2017 The SGB trade union confederation and the vpod public services union have called for a general wage increase of between 1.5% and 2.0%. But the vpod also highlights the need to address the fall in real pay in the public services as well as the importance of ensuring higher pay for jobs dominated by women. Meanwhile the federal court has thrown out a challenge to a proposed minimum wage in the Neuenberg Canton, opening the way to implementation of an hourly minimum of CHFr 20 (€17.50).
Jun. 08, 2017 (June 2017) The vpod public services union has called for an end to internships in childcare and additional funding to ensure a proper provision of training in the sector. The union argues that many employers exploit the intern system to keep staff costs down while there is evidence that many workers who start on internships as a step towards a proper traineeship are disappointed as too few training places are available. While some authorities and employers have tried to regulate internships, vpod argues that they should be abolished completely.
May. 11, 2017 (May 2017) The vpod public services union has highlighted the problem of gender pay inequality across occupations, noting that lower pay in occupations dominated by women, like care, cannot be justified on a gender-neutral basis and that they are the result of specific historical developments. The union cites new research from Essen University in Germany and argues that legislation that currently requires action by employers with over 50 employees should be amended to provide for an evaluation of occupational groups.
Apr. 14, 2017 (April 2017) The vpod public services union has welcomed the negotiation of a new collective agreement that covers around 18000 workers employed by health institutions in the Bern region. Nursing staff, doctors as well as catering and cleaning staff will all be covered by the agreement which will come into effect on 1 January 2018. There will be a new pay system and improved paternity and adoption leave in some institutions along with other benefits like additional holidays. The minimum wage in the agreement will be CHFr 4000 (EUR 3750) per month over 12 months although the unions were aiming for a 13 monthly payments.
Mar. 21, 2017 (March 2017 ) The vpod public services union has a special network set up four years ago campaigning for better protection for migrant care workers. The union argues that the federal government is well aware of the level of exploitation of this group of workers but has failed to take any measures to regulate this area of work. Recent press reports have highlighted the situation facing care workers and the lack of legal protection.