Aug. 02, 2018 The ADEDY public service confederation and health workers' union managed to secure a meeting with the Minister of Finance earlier this month and a commitment to further meetings. However, on one of the main issues of the meeting - extending the allowance for dangerous work to all sectors - the Minister didn't agree and suggested that some workers might see cuts in order to make the allowance available to others. In response to calls to increase the number of permanent staff and reduce flexible contracts the Minister acknowledged the problem of underfunding, particular in healthcare, and indicated that the confederation would be consulted on the allocation of EUR 3.5 billion. The unions remain concerned about the government's plans in the light of the recent bailout deal which they see as locking the country into long-term austerity.
Aug. 02, 2018 EPSU has launched a legal case against the European Commission and is now waiting for the first formal response. EPSU has taken the case because the Commission refused to submit to the European Council the information and consultation agreement signed in the Central Government Administrations social dialogue in December 2015. Despite signing the European Pillar of Social Rights and making positive statements about social dialogue, the Commission has failed to act to provide important rights to 9.8 million central government workers that are already enjoyed in the private sector. The complaint was filed in May and the main arguments have now been published in the Official Journal.
Aug. 01, 2018 The FP-CGIL trade union federation has met with public administration minister Giulia Bongiorno to set out four urgent priorities for action. These involve tackling precarious employment, increasing employment, negotiating the next collective agreement that will cover the years 2019-2021 and ensuring increased investment in staff training. The union argues that it is not enough to simply end the freeze on recruitment as more needs to be done to boost employment or run the risk of a further decline in the quality of services. FP-CGIL also wants a limit on health spending lifted to allow for extra staffing and a guarantee that the upcoming budget will include provisions to cover the costs related to any new collective agreement.
Aug. 01, 2018 Prison workers' unions have organised half-hour protests across the prisons service on 2 August as part of their long-running campaign to get action to tackle violence against staff. With 934 violent assaults registered in 2015 and 2016, the unions say that urgent action is required and they want the new government to recognise the problem and to negotiate an agreement to address it. Inadequate staffing levels are a major element and the unions say the recent offer of additional employment is inadequate to deal with the estimated 3400 vacancies or the ageing of the workforce. However, the unions also point to other challenges such as the need to tackle mental health problems in prisons.
Aug. 01, 2018 A ballot for strike action carried out by civil service union PCS has produced a massive majority (86%) in favour of strike action over pay. However, the vote is invalid because of restrictions on public sector strike action introduced two years ago by the Conservative, centre-right government. Under the rules public service unions need to achieve a 50% turnout in the ballot and on this occasion it was 41.6%. This was the highest majority and highest turnout for a strike ballot in the union's history. PCS will use the high majority for action to strengthen its pay campaign. It is also considering legal action against the government over its refusal to allow electronic voting in strike ballots.
Jul. 20, 2018 EPSU has sent a solidarity message to Hungarian affiliates who are fighting against their government's new proposal to reform the taxation of certain fringe benefits. The KKDSZ, BDDSZ and HVDSZ2000 trade unions held a press conference in front of the Parliament earlier this month in protest. The reform of the taxation of fringe benefits such as luncheon vouchers would make it more costly for employers to provide these to their workers. This could result in an effective cut in income for many, with a particular impact on the low paid for whom the vouchers are very important.
Jun. 29, 2018 Public service trade unions have reacted angrily to government proposals to reform the public sector pay system which ignore union submissions on changes to the system. The controversial plans not only include a doubling of the prime minister's salary and increases for top officials but widespread changes that the unions say will not properly reflect the skills and qualifications of their members. The healthcare union points out that medical specialists could end up being paid less that drivers in some institutions and it has threatened strike action if the government doesn't negotiate.
Jun. 29, 2018 The CSC/ACV and CGSP/ACOD unions representing prison workers have taken strike action in protest at government plans to legislate on limiting their right to strike. EPSU sent a solidarity message to the unions highlighting the deteriorating conditions and overcrowding in prisons across the country and the importance of having the right to strike to highlight the need for urgent action to address these problems and reverse the impact of austerity. Rather than attack trade union rights, EPSU argues that the federal government should open negotiations to tackle the critical situation facing the prison service.
Jun. 28, 2018 The three main civil service unions - PCS, Prospect and FDA - have strongly rejected the latest pay guidance from the government. While lifting the 1% cap on public sector pay increases, the latest guidance for negotiations across the civil service are for pay to rise on average by 1.0%-1.5%. The unions argue that the proposed level is derisory and fails to acknowledge the real pay cuts suffered by civil servants in recent years. They are also angry that the government failed to carry out a proper process of consultation with the unions over the pay guidance document.
Jun. 28, 2018 The KKDSz culture workers' union used the "night of the museums" event in Pecs in south-west Hungary to raise the issue of low pay for workers in museums, libraries and other cultural institutions. The union says that there may be scope for public sector negotiations and increases in the minimum wage as the new government prepares its budget for 2019, following discussions in the National Public Interest Reconciliation Council. The demonstration generated considerable interest in the media and support from other trade unions.
Jun. 28, 2018 Recent mobilisations of union members in public administration in Lleida, Logroño, Tarragona y Ceuta mark the end of a first phase of demonstrations organised by the three main public service federations in CCOO, UGT and CSIF. The key aim of the protests has been to keep up the pressure for the recuperation of pay and benefits cut under austerity but also to call for public employees to have the same pay and benefits as civil servants. The unions are also demanding a minimum monthly wage of EUR 1200 across the public administration.
Jun. 28, 2018 Services union ver.di has expressed its regret that a constitutional court ruling on 12 June has confirmed that civil servants do not have the right to strike. Responding to the judgement ver.di executive committee member Wolfgang Pieper argued that it fails to acknowledge the rights to strike and freedom of association that are afforded by the European Convention of Human Rights. The Court ruling is based on the argument that civil servants have a special relationship of trust with the state which on its side has a special duty of care towards civil servants. In the view of the court this relationship would be undermined by the right to strike for civil servants. Pieper points out that unilateral cuts to civil servants' pay and conditions have themselves undermined this relationship and that there is clearly a case to be made for stronger representation and negotiation rights for civil servants.
Jun. 27, 2018 After a range of protest actions and difficult negotiations the FNV and other trade unions are putting forward a new collective agreement covering 118000 civil servants for approval by their members. The agreement will run from 1 January 2018 to July 2020 and include pay increases of 3% on 1 July 2018, 2% on 1 July 2019 and 1% on 1 January 2020. With a one-off payment of EUR 450 on 1 January 2019, the deal is worth around 7%. There are various other measures included that cover employability, options on leave and an individual budget arrangement that allows choice between holidays and bonuses.