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.
Feb. 13, 2019 Public services union ver.di is mobilising its members in regional government for a series of warning strike in the lead up to the third round of bargaining which begins on 28 February. The union says that there was no breakthrough in the second round of negotiations. The main demands are for a 6% pay increase for the 2.3 million employees with a minimum rise of EUR 200 over a 12-month period. The union also wants specific structural pay increases in care and IT, with an extra EUR 300 on the pay table covering care workers to help tackle recruitment problems. Ver.di is angry that a commitment from the federal government to cover the increases for care workers is seen by the regional government employers as a way of funding the general pay rise.
Jan. 30, 2019 Central and local government workers have joined teachers and health workers in strike action against government plans to reform the public sector pay system. New legislation is set to establish a more unified and consistent pay structure across the public services but most groups of workers are unhappy about the proposals. Health workers were among the first to take action at the end of last year.
Jan. 30, 2019 The pay freeze and job cuts in the public sector have prompted action by some unions in February with the CGT taking strike action on the 5th and FO organising a week of action 3-10 February with a national demonstration on the 7th. Their principal demands focus on unfreezing pay, stopping the job cuts but there are also broader demands about the minimum wage and a fairer tax system. Fairness is also one of the factors behind the unions' joint call for strike action across the energy, water and waste company Veolia which employs 50000 workers in France. The CFDT, CFC, CFT and FO are calling for a general pay increase and higher minimum wages at the group's subsidiaries across the country and criticise the company for failing to protect employees' purchasing power and distributing company shares in a way that disproportionately benefits senior management.
Jan. 29, 2019 The latest official public sector employment data, analysed by the FSC-CCOO public services federation, reveal a persistent problem of temporary employment. Despite an agreement to reduce temporary contracts to 8% of total employment by 2020, the latest figures show temporary work at 26.3% across the public sector (29.9% for women and 21.8% for women). There is good news in terms of an overall increase in public sector employment although the number of jobs is still around 95000 short of replacing the 400000 jobs cut as a result of the austerity measures. While there has been some increase in employment of the under-30s they still make up only 7% of the public sector workforce compared to the over-50s who account for just over 43%.