May. 14, 2020
May. 08, 2020 Health trade unions have issued a joint statement reiterating their serious concerns about the failures in provision of safety equipment and testing for health workers who have been struggling to maintain services despite the risks they have been facing. The unions also warn that the situation with protective equipment and tests needs to be resolved before any major moves to de-confinement otherwise there would be a major risk of a second wave of infection. The joint statement contains a reaffirmation of the key demands of the unions that they have been campaigning around over the last two years including, revaluation of pay and jobs; increased funding; more training and increased recruitment; a stop on closure of facilities and guarantee of access to services for all.
May. 08, 2020 The ETUC has published a first COVID-19 Watch briefing on social dialogue across Europe. Covering 20 countries, the briefing indicates that in most countries trade unions have been involved in various degrees in consultation and negotiation over emergency measures. This includes Spain and Italy, two of the countries worst hit by the pandemic. In France, the situation is more mixed with some limitation on trade union involvement in discussing key measures. More worrying have been the developments in Croatia, Hungary and Poland. While the Croatian withdrew plans to limit trade union and employment rights, emergency legislation in Hungary and Poland allows for major restrictions on social dialogue and trade union rights.
May. 08, 2020 Public service union PASYDY is to pursue a legal case on pay and pensions cuts during austerity to the European Court of Human Rights. The union has expressed disappointment with a ruling of the country's Supreme Court that the government was within its powers to cut pay and pensions in the period 2011-13 as part of austerity measures following the financial and economic crisis. PASYDY also raises questions about the conduct of the case which has dragged on for nearly eight years and the fact that the judgement appears to be in conflict with other rulings in relation to judges and pensioners.
May. 08, 2020 The SSM trade union federation has successfully negotiated a reversal of government plans to suspend the payment of allowances to public service workers during April and May. The plan was part of COVID-19 emergency measures and would have applied to a wide range of payments related to length of service, night work, annual and other leave, retirement and severance. The federation welcomed the change, underlining how social dialogue can work even in emergency situations.
May. 08, 2020 Global trade union federations have welcomed the initiative of the ENGIE energy multinational to commit to cover any hospitalisation and death-related costs arising from the COVID-19 virus for any of its 170000 employees around the world. The company is bringing forward implementation of a new CARE programme for employees that would provide help with such costs but, in the period up to 31 December 2020, is boosting this by providing full coverage of hospitalization costs related to COVID-19 and for employees temporarily without social protection providing all-cause death cover and reimbursement of hospital costs related to the disease.
May. 08, 2020 Trade unions have strongly criticised the health minister for publishing two Royal decrees affecting health workers. The first would allow non-nursing staff to carry out some nursing duties. Unions say there are no details on how this would work in practice. The second provides powers to requisition health staff to work. The unions argue that this comes at a time when the infection rate is beginning to fall but more importantly was not even needed at the height of the crisis when health workers were doing all they could do fight the pandemic. The unions say that the decrees have been imposed without proper consultation and in the fact of strong opposition and that they risk to generate a wave of discontent and protest among health workers.