Jan. 21, 2020 The third round of bargaining in the private health and care sector, covering around 125000 workers, ended without a result. However, the two unions - vida and GPA-djp - are sticking to their main aim of achieving a 35-hour with full compensation in terms of pay and staffing. The unions say there were constructive discussions about a staged implementation of an agreement. They argue that the commitment to shorter hours is vital for the sector to boost recruitment and tackle the long-standing issue of staffing shortages. The unions are planning to convene staff council meetings to report on the negotiations and build support for the claim.
Jan. 21, 2020 Unions in Norway and Sweden have put the focus on green issues in their current and planned negotiations with church employers. In Norway there is a commitment to address sustainability issues with the Norwegian church in an agreement that also includes measures to ensure a working environment that promotes health and also initiatives to reduce sickness absence. Meanwhile, in Sweden upcoming negotiations will include green measures along with a focus on a clearer process of pay determination and increased control over working time to improve work-life balance.
Jan. 21, 2020 The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have welcomed the confirmation by the government that the agreed pay increase of 2% (plus 0.3% in additional funds) will be implemented for all 3.2 million public sector workers, backdated to 1 January. The unions were concerned about a delay until a new government was in place. The FSC-CCOO says that it will now look to tackle a number of other key issues with the government including measures to reduce the level of temporary contracts to the target level of 8%, to increase recruitment and to work on issues related to career development and equality plans.
Jan. 21, 2020 The three public service federations - FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-FPL – are continuing their intensive negotiations over a new collective agreement covering private healthcare. They managed to make progress on temporary changes in duties and working hours, confirming the 11 hours of daily rest and 14 minutes of dressing time for all those who are required to wear a uniform and maximum period of shift of 12 continuous hours. Further issues under discussion relate to illness and injury and to the central issue of pay with the aim of the unions to achieve comparability with public health.
Jan. 21, 2020 Employers have made a disappointing offer in the opening of negotiations covering maternity nurses with an increase of only 2.75% for 2020 on the table, along with a change to mileage allowances. In contrast, the union side has a much more ambitious range of demands including a 5% wage increase for 2020, reimbursement of all travel time, waiting shifts paid as contract hours, an increase of the end-of-year bonus from 6.2% to 8.33% and reimbursement of all training costs.
Jan. 21, 2020 On 14 January the European Commission published a document on fair wages, launching a six-week consultation process with trade unions and employer organisations. The ETUC welcomed some key points in the document such as the acknowledgement that wage in many countries were too low and that collective bargaining is an essential element of a social market economy. However, it was also disappointed that the document was very short on concrete measures, particularly in relation to strengthening and extending collective bargaining. The ETUC is drafting a response that will be discussed at its collective bargaining committee on 31 January and EPSU has convened a working group on 30 January to discuss the document.
Jan. 21, 2020 The ver.di health union, working with the German Hospital Association and German Nursing Council, has made a major breakthrough in developing a staffing assessment tool that should help deliver safe staffing levels. It means that each hospital section will be assessed both in terms of patient care needs and number of employees required to ensure the health and workload of nursing staff. Tested in 44 hospitals, the system has proven that it can be practically implemented. Ver.di believes this will make a real difference to the longstanding challenge of tackling staff shortages and wants the system introduced as a nationwide regulation. It understands, however, that a transition period will be required in order to begin to address the estimated 80000 shortfall in nursing staff across the country.
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. 20, 2020 Following the strike action by school secretaries on 10 January and subsequent industrial action (work-to-rule), Forsa their trade union has agreed to return to talks with the government that are being held by the Workplace Relations Committee conciliation service. The strike action is over the poor pay and conditions suffered by around 2000 school secretaries employed on precarious contracts by local schools (see last issue of EPSU Collective Bargaining News). Forsa is looking for real and significant progress in the talks otherwise the industrial action will re-start.
Jan. 20, 2020 Unions across the public sector will be mobilising on 31 January in protest at the government's failure to offer a decent pay rise for 2020. Unions in both the Frente Comum and FESAP public service federations have rejected the offer of a pay increase of 0.3% as totally inadequate after effectively 10 years of pay freezes. The Frente Comum unions plan a national demonstration on the day with a key demand for a flat-rate EUR 90 increase. FESAP unions are planning a one-day strike. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Jan. 20, 2020 The KKDSZ culture workers' union has launched a petition highlighting low pay in the sector and plans to hand it to the minister of human resources on 22 January, the national day of culture. The union will highlight the contradiction of government claims that national culture is important while failing to increase pay for museum, library and other culture workers for over 10 years or engage in proper collective bargaining. The union is planning a number of events in Budapest and other cities. EPSU send a message of solidarity.
Jan. 20, 2020 Trade unions across Europe have been sending messages of solidarity to Ukrainian unions as they step up their campaign against planned reforms of labour law. Proposed legislation would abolish the most important legal and social guarantees for workers and trade unions covering minimum wages, pay and leave for hazardous work, weekly rest periods, overtime pay and limits, restrictions on night work for women, dismissal rights and protection of workers with disabilities. It allows for more flexible contracts, including zero-hours and weakens trade union rights. A national day of action has been called for 30 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.
Jan. 09, 2020 EPSU and other international trade union organisations have joined the protests against labour law reforms that would undermine worker and trade union rights. Among other negative changes, the reforms would reduce protection against dismissal, increase working time, allow for zero-hour contracts, undermine collective bargaining and weaken trade union rights' to organise. Trade unions were not involved in any consultation over the proposals and EPSU has sent a letter of protest to the government.
Jan. 09, 2020 The HK Kommunal local government union is entering negotiations with the municipality of Esbjerg to discuss moving to a four-day week in the authority's job centre. However, the union is very sceptical about the prospects for the negotiations as it is in the context of the municipality aiming for major cost savings. HK Kommunal clearly states that a four-day week is not about forcing employees to do in four days all that they currently do in five days. The union says that Esbjerg is following the agreement reached in the Odsherred local authority in 2019 but there the focus was not on cost savings but on assessing the potential benefits of a shorter working week and the agreement was only finalised after several years of negotiations.