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.
Feb. 27, 2019 The FOA public services union has strongly criticised plans by Copenhagen City Council to cut DKK 47 million (EUR 6.3 million) from the cleaning budget in its children and youth administration services. The union says that 450 workers will be affected either with reduced hours (some going from 37 to 21 hours a week) and others facing redundancy. FOA argues that this is effectively increasing the working poor, with many workers facing the prospect of doing two, three or more jobs to make ends meet. The union also argues it will impact on cleaning quality and health and safety.
Feb. 15, 2019 Public service unions are continuing their campaign for a pay rise for public service workers. Eight unions have come together and are urging people to sign their petition. They have also written a joint letter to the prime minister, Édouard Philippe, calling not just for an end to the public sector pay freeze but also for a stop on job cuts and recognition of the important role public service workers play in delivering public services. Some of the unions have also been mobilising in February with days of action and strikes.
Feb. 14, 2019 National strike action across the public sector took place on 14-15 February as unions pushed the government to end its austerity measures that have taken a toll on public service workers. Unions in the FESAP federation took action over the two days while the Frente Comum group of unions joined on 15th. The unions have some common demands, particularly the urgent need to end the pay freeze and provide a pay increase for all public service workers. Other demands covered career progression, training and action to tackle precarious employment. EPSU sent solidarity messages.
Feb. 14, 2019 The three main confederations - CGIL, CISL and UIL - organised a joint demonstration on 9 February to protest over government policies. They set out a broad range of demands including the creation of quality jobs, increased public and private investment, fair and equitable tax policies, a revaluation of pensions, measures to improve the provision of welfare, health, education and other public services and renewal of collective agreements in the public sector. EPSU sent a message of support.
Feb. 14, 2019The FSC-CCOO public services federation has expressed its concern about the lack of equality plans across regional and provincial authorities. In a meeting of the Committee that deals with equality plans it was revealed that only six of the autonomous communities have a plan in place. The 11 others have no plan although may have taken some measures that would feature in a plan. The situation in the 50 provincial authorities is worse with very few - only nine having - a plan with a further six taking the first steps towards adopting one. The union has called for proper monitoring of the introduction and implementation of plans across the public administration, noting also that some have not been further developed or put into effect.
Feb. 13, 2019 Negotiations covering workers in provincial government have been suspended after unions reacted with disappointment to the employers' latest pay offer of 6% over 24 months. The unions say that after several years of moderate pay increases, workers deserve higher pay and a share of growth in the economy. The unions are aiming for a 7.25% increase over two years and argue that the employers should acknowledge the work that the unions have done in relation to a revised job structure and harmonisation of allowances.