A new law covering telework introduces important new rules for those involved in remote or home work as well as including a role for trade unions in ensuring workers’ rights. The protections cover dismissals, employer provision of equipment or requirement on the employer to compensate workers for using their equipment and clear rules to ensure that all worker consultations with the employer are during normal working time.
Getting to grips with digitalisation
Digitalisation has the potential to positively transform public services and the jobs of public service workers. Quicker and easier access to services and increased participation of citizens can be combined with better quality jobs as repetitive work is replaced with more fulfilling tasks. However, trade unions must be involved in the transformation process not just to ensure that workers have their fare share of the benefits of digitalisation but also to deal with the potential downside. This briefing, produced for EPSU's 2019 Congress, highlights some of the work done on this issue in recent years and sets out the current priorities.
Negotiations for a new collective agreement covering the state sector will begin in mid-January and the FNV trade union has surveyed members to identify the main priorities. Over 80% of respondents said that it was important for the union to maintain its proposed claim for a 5% pay increase. The feeling was that this was necessary to cover cost of living increases and recruit and retain staff. Members were also keen on an allowance for working from home or support to cover any costs related to home working. Early retirement is also on the agenda while the FNV will be looking for measures to
Three trade unions (CGT, FP-CGIL and PCS) representing workers in cultural services in France, Italy and the UK have come together to highlight the urgent need for action to support the sector and tackle poor pay and employment conditions. They argue that the sector has been particularly hard hit by measures to tackle the pandemic and these have been intensified because of the extent of outsourcing and precarious employment. The unions are calling for a strengthening of public culture services, decent and secure employment conditions and action to stop privatisation and outsourcing. CGT (EN
Public services union Fagforbundet has warned that a dispute over pensions could end in strike action unless the Spekter employer organisation delivers a solution in upcoming mediation. The dispute covers workers in the culture sector, including orchestras, theatres and opera. A temporary pension arrangement involving defined contributions was agreed in 2016 in response to the final challenges facing the sector. The union now wants to negotiate a long-term solution that delivers a hybrid and gender-neutral pension scheme but Spekter has not come up with a proposal and has effectively abandoned
The FSC-CCOO public services federation is organising a series of two-hour strikes in state museums and theatres in October and November. The union is protesting against the fact that workers in the sector are not properly covered by the collective agreement for the state sector. In particular, the union wants to ensure professional status for these workers and reduce the extent of temporary contracts. The strikes will begin on 25 October and will take place on 10 different dates up to 24 November with specific dates for different institutions.
The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have signed a new agreement on telework covering 2.5 million public sector employees. The agreement includes basic principles that telework arrangements should be voluntary and reversible and subject to key provisions relating to health and safety, equality, transparency and objectivity. The agreement protects employee rights as well as guaranteeing services for citizens. Other important elements include a right to disconnect, data protection and the right to privacy. The unions have called for negotiations at various levels of government to
ETUC Executive Committee discussed Minimum Wage, Digital Agenda and violation of information and consultation rights
The main debate in the ETUC Executive was about the response of the ETUC to the 2nd consultation of the European Commission on addressing the challenges for fair minimum wages.
Unions organising in state administration in both Spain and Portugal have raised serious concerns about the approach to telework and particularly governments taking the opportunity to regularise arrangements that were only adopted on an emergency basis. While there is recognition of the potential benefits to work-life balance, unions argue that fundamental issues need to be addressed through collective bargaining in relation to working time, the right to disconnect, provision of equipment, health and safety, training, contact with the workplace and the voluntary nature of the decision to
Progress with collective bargaining in the public sector has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Around 2.1 million workers are covered by the agreement for Federal and Municipal government which was last negotiated in 2018 and runs until 31 August this year. The trade union ver.di convened its collective bargaining committee earlier this month where it postponed the decision to formally give notice on the end of the agreement which would start negotiations. There will be an opening discussion with the VKA employers' organisation on 16 June and the collective bargaining committee will
EPSU organizing and campaigns officer, Miloš Vlaisavljević took part in the Organizing 2.0 conference (17-18 April). Normally, an annual event taking place in New York, this year the online conference involved activists from across the world.
EPSU has sent letters to the prime minister and leaders of political groups in parliament protesting at legislation that will remove public service status from over 20000 workers in libraries, museums, archives, culture centres, theatres and orchestras. This is a group of workers that is mainly low paid and whose pay has been frozen for over 10 years. The additional employment protection of public service status is one of their few main benefits. The government is using its emergency to push through the change at breakneck speed without the usual parliamentary process or consultation with