May. 08, 2020 The Welsh government has said that all care workers will get a £500 (EUR 570) bonus in recognition of the work they have been doing during the COVID-19 crisis. Trade unions have welcomed the payment which will go to all carers whether employed by local authorities, non-profit providers or private companies. Meanwhile, local government employers have said that a 2.75% pay rise is their final offer but that they will approach central government for more funding for next year. The largest local government union, UNISON, wants a joint approach to central government and will only consult members on the 2.75% offer once it is fully informed about the employers’ funding demands for next year. Non-uniformed police staff are also in negotiations and the main claims is for an increase of 6.5% or £1200 (EUR 1370) a year, whichever is higher.
Apr. 24, 2020 The UNISON, Unite and GMB public service unions have called on the government to increase funding for local government to cover a higher pay rise for council workers in England and Wales. The unions are pushing for a 10% pay rise to begin to address the 20% fall in pay in real terms in recent years but employers have so far offered only 2.7% for 2020-21. The unions argue that it is important to recognise the role that many of these workers have played during the current crisis.
Apr. 09, 2020 Seven trade union organisations have called on the government to urgently address the critical lack of personal protective equipment in health and social care. The unions also raise serious concerns about the threats of disciplinary action against workers who refuse to work in dangerous situations or who want to talk publicly about the lack of equipment. They want the government to work with the unions to tackle the crisis and to do this it needs to guarantee transparency on procurement, distribution, timescales and exactly how and when workers can expect to get the protection they need and deserve. Unions have also raised concerns that PPE supply to care homes is still inadequate following a government announcement that 8 million items had been distributed to the sector. Unions have also approached the government to launch a coordinated effort to use more manufacturing capacity to produce PPE.
Mar. 05, 2020 The UNISON, Unite and RCN health trade unions have voted to approve a new agreement on pay and staffing in Northern Ireland. The three unions were involved in various forms of industrial action at the end of last year, including the first full strike action in the RCN's history. The unions now have agreement that pay rates in Northern Ireland will be increased to be in line with those in England and measures will be discussed to increase staffing. A fourth union NIPSA did not support the pay deal but recognises that there was a majority vote in favour. In the meantime it is continuing its campaign around staffing levels, particularly in social services.
Feb. 20, 2020 The three main unions in local government - Unison, Unite and GMB - have rejected a 2% pay rise as a wholly inadequate offer from the employers. The unions have submitted a joint pay claim that aims to provide some redress for years of pay freezes and below-inflation increases. These have left local government workers some 22% worse off in real terms. The aim is for a new minimum rate of GBP 10 (EUR 12) per hour and a 10% increase for all workers.
Jan. 20, 2020 Industrial action by health workers in Northern Ireland (see EPSU Collective Bargaining News December 2019, 23 and 24) has been suspended as unions consult on a pay offer and initiative to deliver safe staffing. Both UNISON and Unite will recommend to their members to accept the offer which they say will deliver pay parity with the rest of the UK and provide funding to achieve safe staffing levels. It is not yet clear if the RCN will recommend acceptance. The fourth union in the dispute, NIPSA, will recommend to its members to reject the offer while also calling out its civil service membership on a strike over pay on 24 January.
Jan. 09, 2020 A long-running dispute in hospitals in North West England has been resolved with pay rises for workers employed by the outsourcing company Compass. Before the deal, Compass employees were on the national minimum wage (£8.21 per hour/EUR 9.65), while colleagues employed directly by the NHS were earning at least £9.03 (EUR 10.60). This meant Compass workers were losing out to the tune of around £1,500 (EUR 1760) a year (see EPSU CB News August 2019, 15). The agreement negotiated by UNISON and overwhelmingly supported by the workers means they’ll now receive a significant pay rise, more money for working weekends and bank holidays and an improved sick pay scheme.
Dec. 19, 2019 Four health trade unions in Northern Ireland - UNISON, Unite, NIPSA and RCN - organised a day's strike action on 18 December to demand urgent action on pay inequality in the NHS. Health workers in Northern Ireland are the lowest paid in the UK and unions argue that pay parity will be a major factor in delivering safe staffing levels. EPSU sent a message of support. The unions are also planning or have organised other forms of industrial action as part of their campaign (see EPSU CB News 22 and 23).
Dec. 05, 2019 Members of four health unions in Northern Ireland - UNISON, RCN, NIPSA and Unite - have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action, including strike action, to force the government to address pay inequality which leaves them the worst paid health employees in the UK. The unions also want urgent action to tackle staff shortages and to ensure safe and effective staffing levels.EPSU sent messages of solidarity. The unions are involved in a range of different actions but are planning a coordinated strike on 18 December.
Nov. 21, 2019 Both public services union UNISON and the RCN nursing union have voted for strike action in Northern Ireland over low pay and staffing levels. Members of both unions voted 92% in favour of strike action. The RCN’s action short of a strike will begin on 3 December building up to a strike on the 18th while UNISON will start its campaign on 25 November, also leading up to a strike on the 18th. The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance is currently balloting its members on action, again over low pay, and the result will be announced on 25 November.
Nov. 07, 2019 Members of the PCS civil service union are continuing their long-running campaign for union recognition at the Interserve outsourcing company which provides maintenance and cleaning services at the Foreign Office. Four further days of strike action were planned for 7, 8, 11 and 12 November. Meanwhile members of the UNISON public service union are planning two days of strike action at three hospitals run by the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust. Around 1000 cleaners, caterers, porters, security and estates staff are threatened with outsourcing as part of a national trend in the health sector to set up wholly-owned subsidiaries. UNISON is campaigning against the initiative.
Nov. 07, 2019 The three main trade unions in local government - UNISON, GMB and Unite - came together to lobby employers in advance of negotiations on pay. The unions' pay claim is for an increase of 10% and a minimum pay rate of £10 an hour (€11.60). They are also calling for a two hour reduction in the working week (with no loss of pay), one extra day of annual leave and the ending of the freeze on allowances. The unions argue that local government workers have seen a 22% cut in pay in real terms over the last 10 years.
Oct. 24, 2019 The public services union UNISON has secured a major victory for around 900 outsourced security and cleaning workers at University College, London. The workers will soon see their holiday entitlement aligned with that of directly employed workers while pay, overtime, sickness and pension benefits will be brought into line by the autumn of 2021. Meanwhile the union is continuing its campaign to get better pay for outsourced workers employed by the Compass multinational at two hospitals in North West England. The minimum hourly rate for these workers is only GBP 8.21 (EUR 9.50 - the national minimum wage) while the minimum for directly employed staff is GBP 9.03 (EUR 10.50).