Jan. 18, 2019 The Fagforbundet public services union reports that its legal action against the Aleris social care multinational began on 14 January. The union brought the action on behalf of workers who argue that they are employees of the company and not "consultants" as claimed by Aleris. As self-employed consultants they have far fewer rights and Aleris was able to exploit them, for example, by giving them excessively long shifts. Fagforbundet sees the case as a key challenge to social dumping, highlighting the negative impact not just on the workers but also the quality of service to groups of very vulnerable people.
Jan. 17, 2019 The FNV public services trade union organised a demonstration by youth workers in The Hague on 14 January to protest at the government's failure to tackle serious problems in the sector which are leading to long waiting times for young people to get support and a staff shortage as many workers leave the sector because of the pay and working conditions. The union is calling for EUR 750 million extra funding for the sector and an end to the competitive tendering system which has led to undercutting of contracts, driving prices down and forcing cost cutting across the sector.
Jan. 17, 2019 Public services union FOA has called on municipalities to address the employment shortage in health and social care by offering more full-time jobs. The union has published figures indicating that only 20% of jobs offered in the sector last year were full-time despite the increased demands and despite around 20% of FOA members wanting to work longer hours. The union believes that employers prefer the flexibility of employing two part-time workers rather than one full timer.
Jan. 03, 2019 The FOA public services union has criticised the government for failing to come up with any concrete and urgent measures to tackle the shortage of health and social care staff particularly in eldercare. The government announced a major mapping exercise in July last year that was aimed at identifying the challenges facing municipalities. The resulting report adds little to the facts and figures that the unions have produced over the years to warn of the scale of staff shortages. The FOA also argues that the promised DKK 150 million (EUR 20 million) to help boost recruitment is inadequate, being spread over four years and covering 98 municipalities.
Jan. 03, 2019 The Oslo District Court has rejected the attempt by the Aleris multinational care company to use European law to prevent workers claiming their rightful status as employees. Thirty-seven workers, supported by the Fagforbundet trade union, have launched legal proceedings against the company which has denied them employment rights by classifying them as consultants rather than employees (see epsucob@NEWS 16 and 17, 2018). The trade union accuses the company of trying to intimidate individual workers and employing teams of highly-paid lawyers to try to block their claims in the court. A case involving 24 of the 37 workers will be heard in the Oslo District Court on 14 January.
Jan. 03, 2019 Employees of the Celenus health company, part of the Orpea multinational, continued their campaign for a collective agreement when they travelled to a protest in Berlin on 11 December where they joined other striking workers from the Charité physiotherapy clinic. The workers at Celenus's rehabilitation clinic in Bad Langensalza in the Thüringen region are involved in long-running strike action in an attempt to secure a collective agreement and better pay. The company has repeatedly refused to negotiate with the ver.di trade union. Action last year was supported by EPSU and its affiliates that organise in Orpea across Europe.
Dec. 05, 2018 After an 18-month campaign, social care workers have voted in favour of measures that will mean that they will recoup the impact of pay cuts and freezes they have suffered since the financial and economic crisis. The workers, employed by so-called Section 39 non-profit organisations, do many social service-related jobs that have counterparts in the public sector. While public sector workers are covered by a pay restoration agreement, Section 39 employees have had to fight for the right to have their pay restored on a similar basis.
Dec. 03, 2018 The ver.di services union has called on employers of all kinds across the eldercare sector to negotiate a sector agreement. The union argues that this is needed urgently to ensure better pay for eldercare workers and that they all are covered by a sector agreement whether they work for the private for profit, non-profit or public sectors. Ver.di has welcomed steps taken by non-profit welfare organisations to create an employers' organisation and argues that the next step is a sector agreement that will help improve the attractiveness of the sector and tackle staffing shortages. The union's collective bargaining committee will meet in January to set out the key elements of a sector agreement which is likely to follow the main public sector agreements.
Dec. 03, 2018 It has taken three and a half years and legal action by the FOA public service union to ensure that care workers finally get the money they owed from their employer, Kaerkommen, which went bust in 2015. The 77 workers were owed around DK 12 million (EUR 1.6m) in pay and holiday allowance but the public authorities - municipalities on the one-hand and the wage guarantee fund on the other - refused to take responsibility for the compensation. The court ruled that the wage guarantee fund should pay up and the employment minister has now drafted new legislation to cover such cases and ensure that in future workers don't lose out.
Nov. 23, 2018
Access to quality health, care and education and fairer and better tax, benefit and social protection systems are among some of the positive elements in the European Commission’s 2019 Annual Growth Survey (AGS) that was published on 21 November.
Nov. 23, 2018 Municipal workers' union Kommunal is calling on the government and all political parties to ensure that promised additional funding of SEK 5 billion (EUR 485 million) will be available to pay for extra staffing in the care sector. The union estimates that an additional 135000 jobs are needed in the short term. A large survey of Kommunal members found that almost one in two assistant nurses felt that the staffing problem in elderly care was so bad that it posed a risk to the elderly. There were similar concerns among childcare assistants about staffing shortages posing risks to children. The union sees this as an urgent and immediate problem but that even more investment will be needed for the longer term.
Nov. 22, 2018
The European Parliament interest group on informal care discussed the measures that need to be put in place to ensure quality care is available for all that need it.
Nov. 22, 2018 After three rounds of negotiations, public sector unions have secured a minimum pay rise of 2.51% rising to 3.45% for lower paid workers. The increase will be implemented on 1 January 2019 and will include a 2.76% increase on other payments and allowances. The increases are ahead of the 2.02% inflation rate that formed the basis of the negotiations The younion public service union says that workers with a gross monthly salary of EUR 2000 will see pay rise by around 3.3% while those on EUR 3000 will get a 3.0% increase. The unions now want to see all regions implement the pay rise in full.
Nov. 22, 2018 The ver.di health and social care union organised a national action day in the eldercare sector on 21 November. Along with local events across the country, the union coordinated a national photo action involving thousands of care workers. The aim of the day was to highlight the need for better pay and working conditions and more staff to tackle the increasing demands on the sector. Ver.di points out that staff face excessive overtime, extra shifts at short notice and long hours without breaks. The federal government is committed to creating 13000 new jobs in the sector but ver.di argues that this won't be enough and effectively means just one job per institution.
Nov. 08, 2018 ADEDY, the public services confederation, has called a 24-hour strike for 14 November. It is calling on the government to negotiate over a gradual process of pay restoration. ADEDY says that civil servants have already seen pay cut by 40% and now tax rises and reductions in tax allowances will further reduce take home pay. It is calling for immediate pay rises and the restoration of the 13th and 14th month salaries as initial steps in this process. The strike demands also cover the urgent need to recruit additional permanent staff, for measures on skills and training rather than a new evaluation system, improvements to pensions and a stop to privatisation.