Apr. 16, 2019 Teachers, childcare workers and school administrative and other staff began an all-out strike on 8 April following three weeks of negotiations with the government over pay. The negotiations also came after a three-year campaign of demonstrations and protests over low pay in the sector affecting both teachers and other school staff. With the government refusing to come up with a decent pay offer, support for strike action was very high, registering 80%-90% in some areas. The action comes at a time when other groups of public service workers are either taking strike action or pushing for higher pay. EPSU sent a message of support.
Apr. 16, 2019 Trade unions preparing for pay negotiations in the local government sector are looking to secure a real pay increase for all workers. Their other key aims include higher increases for lower paid workers and action to reduce the gender pay gap with workers in sectors dominated by women particularly targeted. The unions argue that with unemployment down municipal workers should benefit from positive economic developments. They also want to see a proper recognition of skills and competences noting that there is a shortage of staff in some occupations and that in recent years some categories of skilled workers have not seen their pay develop in line with other groups, particularly managers.
Apr. 15, 2019 Following the successfuly negotiations covering over a million regional government workers earlier this year, the ver.di public service union has negotiated a similar deal for the 45000 employees of the Hessen region in central west Germany which is not part of the national negotiations. The 30-month agreement runs until 30 September 2021 with pay rises for all workers worth 3.2% (minimum EUR 100) in both March 2019 and February 2020 and a third stage increase of 1.4% in January 2021. Workers on entry grades will see higher increases amounting to 11% over the course of the agreement.
Apr. 15, 2019 After the sixth round of bargaining the negotiations over a new collective agreement for 160000 municipal workers have stalled. The FNV public service union is now reflecting on what steps to take and whether to organise any protest action. The union is bitterly disappointed by the VNG employer organisation's refusal to consider a health and wellbeing policy for the sector and its wholly inadequate pay offer. The FNV says that the latest offer of 4.9% is less than 2.5% over the proposed two-year agreement and so below the current inflation rate of 3%.The union argues that municipal workers should get a real pay increase and benefit from the current positive state of the Dutch economy.
Apr. 15, 2019 Nine trade union organisations are now supporting the national public sector strike on 9 May - CFDT, CFTC, CFE-CGC, CGT, FAFP, FO, FSU, Solidaires, and UNSA. The key demands are for the government to stop its plan for a transformation of the public service that involves around 120000 job cuts. The unions are also calling for an end to the pay freeze and a pay increase for all public sector workers. The unions claim that the government talks about the importance of the work of civil servants while at the same time undermining their rights, benefits and working conditions. They also say that there has been a failure to negotiate properly with the unions and to take account of the alternative proposals they have for the public sector.
Mar. 28, 2019 Non-teaching staff at schools across the country took strike action on 21-22 March with support increasing on the second day and many schools closing. The unions are calling for action on low pay noting that with the recent increase in the minimum wage new workers are now often earning as much as staff with 20 years' service. The unions want to see a proper career structure put in place and measures to reduce precarious employment in order to recognise the contribution that these workers make to the education system.
Mar. 28, 2019 Public service unions organised a national protest on 27 March, the day that draft legislation on public service reform was presented to the Council of Ministers. The unions oppose the main reforms that they fear will lead to increased use of workers on contracts rather than civil service status and plans to cut 120000 jobs. Most unions are also planning further action with 9 May as the date for demonstrations and strikes. Meanwhile, customs workers have been on a work-to-rule. While the impact of Brexit is one of the drivers of the action, the unions argue that there are other long-term problems that need addressing. Around 6000 jobs have been cut from the service over the last 10 years while the work has become more complex with increasing demands related to terrorism. Failure to invest to in up-to-date equipment has also contributed to the problems faced by border workers.
Mar. 27, 2019 The Fagforbundet public services union is working to ensure that its members benefit from provisions in collective agreements - in this case in the municipal sector and covering childcare - that ensure that workers are paid the appropriate wage for their experience and qualifications. Workers can get up to six years of service-related pay if they have been away from work because of caring responsibilities. Migrant workers can also get qualifications and experience from other countries taken into account. The union gives the example of a childcare worker from Lithuania who saw a NOK 104000 (EUR 10700) increase in annual pay once her seven years of home caring responsibilities and six years of childcare work in Lithuania were taken into account. A cleaner got the same increase once the local authority checked that she had had to spend seven years caring for her husband and once they had corrected her service details.
Mar. 27, 2019 The FNV trade union reports that negotiations covering the municipal sector have some way to go as the two sides remain quite far apart. The employers have effectively made two offers - one focuses more on paid leave while the other focuses on pay. The first fails to acknowledge the FNV's demands for a policy on wellbeing while offering little on pay while the second also lacked a wellbeing policy, threatened to reduce leave and its 4.55% pay offer is also well below the union target. The FNV wants a 7.55% increase over two years, 0.8% of which is part of the personal budget that employees can use to exchange for other benefits. The union also wants a wellbeing policy covering all ages that would include, for example, the scope for reduced hours for older workers.
Mar. 15, 2019 The Forsa public services union is arguing that the current public sector agreement needs to address cost-of-living increases and occupation and grade-specific claims. Recent pay rises have brought pay back to 2008 levels but don't take account of the 6% rise in prices while there is a range of demands from different groups of workers that have not been addressed in earlier negotiations. This is reflected in the current dispute involving nurses and midwives which is now being addressed in the Labour Court. The Court had ruled earlier in favour of a pay rise for nurses and midwives and other measures to address issues like safe staffing levels. But the union, INMO, has returned to the court following a government offer that includes what the union sees as wholly unacceptable proposals on contracts
Mar. 14, 2019 The municipal workers' union Kommunal, along with other public service unions, is seeking to negotiate a collective agreement to clarify the conditions that apply to workers dealing with disasters. The union says that last year's forest fires required a massive response from the emergency services, particularly fire and rescue, and there was lack of clarity over how to apply certain rules, particularly those relating to working time and overtime. The union believes that a specific agreement should help and could apply to other groups of workers who may be affected such as those in the health services.
Mar. 14, 2019 After three days of negotiations in the third round of bargaining, services union ver.di emerged with a significant pay increase for regional government workers and in particular workers in health and social care. The basic deal means increases of 3.2% from 1 January 2019 (minimum EUR 100 a month) and again on 1 January 2020 (minimum EUR 90). There will be a further increase of 1.4% (min EUR 40) on 1 January 2021. Trainees will get two increases of EUR 50 in 2019 and 2020 plus an extra day of paid leave. Minimum pay rates in the 15 pay groups will also increase which will mean new starters will see pay rise by 11% in two stages. Finally health and social care workers will move to the local authority pay scale which for workers with three years of training will mean a gross monthly pay rise of EUR 380.
Feb. 28, 2019 A new analysis from the research organisation, the Living Wage Foundation, shows that over one million public service workers are paid less than the living wage - GBP 9.00 (EUR 10.50) an hour outside London and GBP 10.55 (EUR 12.30) in London. These figures are calculated by independent researchers and are higher than the official minimum wage. Public service union UNISON says that recent pay deals in health and local government have lifted minimum wage rates in collective agreements above the living wage but many workers employed by private contractors in care, catering and cleaning and other services are on lower rates. UNISON members at Liverpool's Women's Hospital took strike action on 25 February to secure higher pay while other contractors in the health service have committed to increase rates. Members of PCS working for contractors at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have also been on strike for higher pay.
Feb. 28, 2019 Public service unions report very high levels of support for the national strike action on 14-15 February. All sectors of the public services were affected and this gives strength to the unions' claims to end the 10-year pay freeze and to address a wide range of other issues including career progression. Meanwhile, in relation to a separate action the SEP nurses' union has condemned the government for using its power of civil requisition to end a strike. The union argues that this is an excessive measure that undermines the right of healthworkers to take action and will, in any case, do nothing to resolve the dispute. Information on the right to strike in Portugal is now available in the new EPSU-ETUI series of country factsheets.
Feb. 27, 2019 After four rounds of bargaining the VNG local government employers' organisation has come up with a first offer of a 2.5% pay increase over a 15-month period. For the FNV trade union this is effectively a 2% increase over 12 months and provides no real wage increase. The union will be pushing for something closer to its claims for a 5% pay rise over 12 months. It is relatively positive about the negotiations, noting that it is also discussing a range of other issues with employers including ensuring healthy and sustainable workplaces and job security.