May. 17, 2018 The four unions representing home care workers in the Basque region (ELA, LAB, UGT and USO) have planned further work stoppages as part of their long-running campaign to end the pay freeze and negotiate new collective agreements. Two three-hour stoppages will take place on 25 and 31 May. There will also be a protest outside the Mungia town hall on the 25th and workers will surround the Bilbao town hall on the 31st. The unions are targeting local authorities for allowing the contracting out of home care services without any minimum prices specified and no hours guaranteed for the workers. The workers have already carried out 10 stoppages and organised innumerable protests in their campaign to secure their first pay rise for five years.
May. 16, 2018
EPSU position on the EU’s Western Balkans Strategy: strengthen collective bargaining, build independent high quality public administrations and institutions and invest in public services
The Western Balkan strategy of the European Commission is a significant step in providing positive prospects for the workers and people of these countries
May. 03, 2018 The latest edition of collective bargaining news from the European Trade Union Institute contains several articles on developments in the public services, including resistance to privatisation in Croatia and Greece, a strike over staffing levels at Limassol hospital in Cyprus, a national strike over pay by midwives in Iceland, the latest on the six-hour-day experiement at the Svartedalen care home in Sweden and a report on pay differentials for civil servants doing the same work in Germany.
May. 03, 2018 Health union representatives met with the government on 2 May following a well-supported rally on 26 April. The government has promised to tackle some of the pay and bonus problems identified by health unions but has yet to come up with concrete written proposals. Health union Sanitas wants the government to lift the 30% limit on bonuses and to increase pay for all workers in health and social services. It also wants to negotiate collective agreements in the two sectors. Unless the government addresses these issues the union is planning a two-hour warning strike on 7 May and a national one-day strike on 11 May. EPSU has sent letters supporting the union's case to the Prime Minister and the ministers of health, finance and labour.
May. 02, 2018 The ver.di public services union is calling for solidarity for two of its members who have been summarily sacked for their trade union activities. The union has been engaged in a pay dispute with the Celenus group of rehabiliation centres which has around 20 operations in Germany employing over 2100 workers. Carmen Laue and Heike Schmidt, members of the ver.di collective bargaining committee, were sacked for distributing information on strike action. Ver.di has criticised the company for trying to intimidate workers rather than try to resolve the dispute through negotiation. The union is asking for messages of support for the sacked workers and for protest messages to be sent to Celenus management.
May. 02, 2018 In the latest stage of its Pay Rise campaign the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has issued an alert on the state of collective bargaining across Europe. The ETUC's analysis of official data shows 35 ‘red’ warnings for 17 EU member states. Countries with the largest number of ‘red’ warnings include Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania and UK. The emergency alerts cover issues such as the extent of company-level rather than sector-level bargaining, collective bargaining coverage and the use of extension arrangements. The warnings also cover low wage shares in the economy. For example, less than 35% of working people are covered by collective agreements in at least six member states while wages make up less than the average of 45% of GDP in 10 member states. The ETUC has also produced a video urging workers to join a union and support collective bargaining.
Apr. 20, 2018 The Kommunal municipal workers' union has launched a new service for members to make it easy for them to check if they are covered by a collective agreement. The system covers around 18000 employers who operate in Kommunal's sectors and it will provide an easy way for workers, particularly those moving to a new job, to check if their new employer signs up to a collective agreement.
Apr. 20, 2018 Following its initial protests in March, the Sanitas health union is planning further action to put pressure on the government over pay and bonuses. A national rally is planned for 26 April and a two-hour warning strike will take place on 7 May followed by a full national strike across the health and social service sectors on 11 May. The union is protesting over the new pay system that hasn't delivered pay increases for all workers. The union also wants a general pay rise, an end to the cap on bonuses, compensation for pay lost to increase social contributions and the right to negotiate collective agreements covering the two sectors.
Apr. 20, 2018 EPSU is organising a conference on 6-7 June in Brussels that will explore a number of collective bargaining issues. Part of the conference will focus on quality employment and will discuss in particular research on quality employment in two sectors - prisons and childcare. Other sessions will debate new research commissioned by EPSU. This includes an updated analysis comparing pay trends in the public and private sectors; union action to tackle low pay in sectors dominated by women and the impact of digitalisation in home care and public employment services. There will also be a panel debating the prospects for quality employment for young workers.
Apr. 20, 2018 Figures produced by the ETUC and the European Trade Union Institute show that wages across Europe would have been four times higher than they are now if they had kept pace with productivity. Tracking wage increases against productivity developments the figures for some countries even show productivity rising while real wages have fallen. This was the case in Hungary, Portugal, Romania and Greece.
Apr. 20, 2018 The mediator in the public sector pay dispute has extended the official period of mediation. Unless she decides to end the mediation early then this means that the unions cannot take any strike action until 6 May and employers cannot impose their threatened lockout until 12 May. In the meantime unions are still mobilising their activists and public services union FOA organised a meeting of 2000 worker representatives which reaffirmed their determination to push for a real wage increase as well as special measures to address low pay and pay in occupations dominated by women.
Apr. 19, 2018 The FNV trade union has started a series of actions in support of its pay claim for 110000 civil servants. The union is demanding an increase of 3.5% with a minimum guarantee of EUR 1000. The FNV argues that prime minster Mark Rutte has already called for a wage rise across the economy but Minister of the Interior, Kasja Ollongren, denies that there is any money for a pay rise for civil servants despite the long-term pay freeze they suffered. In the first of a number of initiatives the FNV organised a demonstration of prison workers in Utrecht and handed over their collective bargaining demands to the prison director who was then asked to communicate this to the government. The collective agreement covering civil servants ran until 31 December 2017 and trade unions broke off negotiations in February following the failure of the government to come up with any pay offer.
Apr. 19, 2018 Workers in the Aguas de Portugal water company have been meeting across the country to ensure strong support for the strike action planned for 24 April. The action is over a number of major issues including low pay, career development, working time and reasserting the right to collective bargaining. Local government union STAL says that pay levels for some workers are intolerable with some on rates as low as EUR 586 a month and about 700 workers on less than EUR 750 a month. The union wants to see an end to precarious contracts, an equalisation of rights to various allowances etc. across the company and implementation of a standard seven-hour day and 35-hour week.
Apr. 09, 2018
Meeting the EPSU Russian affiliates, and together reflecting on the tensions between the EU, US and Russia, the EPSU General Secretary stressed the importance of focusing on our common issues and interests as workers and trade unions, 4 April Moscow.