On the occasion of International Domestic Workers' Day (16 June), EPSU supports the call of a network of civil society organisations to recognise labour and social rights of migrant domestic workers and migrant care workers
Jun. 15, 2018
Jun. 07, 2018 EPSU affiliates around Europe have been developing collective bargaining policies, using legal action and pushing for legislative change to help them address the persistent problem of low pay in sectors dominated by women. In a report commissioned by EPSU, She works hard for the money, and in a presentation to EPSU's Quality Employment conference,Torsten Müller, senior researcher at the European Trade Union Institute, provides a number of examples from Finland, Sweden, Germany, the UK and other countries where public service trade unions have used collective bargaining to improve pay in health and social services. The report uses European data to indicate how skilled and unskilled nurses' pay compares to pay across the economy as a whole and how the percentage of women workers in the sector does appear to have an impact on pay levels. The report also outlines a range of other strategies and tactics used by unions to deal with the fact that pay in sectors dominated by women is seriously undervalued.
Jun. 07, 2018
Over 70 trade union representatives from 24 countries took part in EPSU’s social dialogue and collective bargaining conference in Brussels on 6-7 June. Under the general theme of “Quality Employment for Quality Public Services” the participants debated a wide range of issues
Jun. 01, 2018 Public service unions have made a major breakthrough after three years of negotiations following the signing of a sector collective agreement covering workers in social services. Around 1000 social workers, social worker assistants and home care employees will see a range of improvements to pay and conditions, including a 4.3% rise in the minimum coefficient used to calculate salaries along with further increases for specific groups of workers. There are other measures to compensate workers covering for absent colleagues and for using private cars. The agreement will only apply to union members. The unions are pleased with the deal but say that there is still more work to do to further improve pay and conditions in the sector.
Jun. 01, 2018 Municipal workers' union Kommunal has negotiated a new two-year agreement with private care providers which includes general pay increases, additions for low-paid workers and several provisions on working time. The agreement follows the main municipal deal that provided for increases of 2% in 2018 and 2.3% in 2019 but in companies where average pay is below SEK 24000 (EUR 2330) a month in 2018 and below SEK 24480 (EUR 2380) in 2019, increases will be implemented as flat-rate amounts of SEK 490 (EUR 47) in 2018 and SEK 563 (EUR 55) in 2019. Assistant nurses will also get an extra 0.5%. Other measures cover arrangements for working after normal working hours, rest breaks and increasing the availability of full-time work.
Jun. 01, 2018 Public services union UNISON has highlighted the case of care workers employed by the national charity Community Integrated Care who are being subjected to excessive surveillance. Staff have to sign-in on an hourly basis with their photos being taken and their identity also being checked with finger prints. The workers argue that the process actually hampers their ability to deliver proper care to clients. UNISON is also concerned that the company's use of biometric data without personal consent might infringe new data protection rules.
May. 18, 2018 The ADEDY public sector confederation will be joining with the GSEE private sector confederation and other trade union and professional organisations in a 24-hour general strike on 30 May in protest at the continuing austerity being imposed on workers and citizens. ADEDY says that public sector workers are still suffering from pay cuts of up to 40% while more precarious working conditions have spread across the public services and there are critical staff shortages in important areas of health and social services.
May. 17, 2018 The FOA public services union has very much welcomed the significant increases to pay for health and social care assistants and trainees as a result of the recently negotiated public sector collective agreements. While all workers will benefit from the the overall 8.1% increase over three years, specific increases set out in the agreements will mean that health and social service assistants will see increases of 13% over the period and trainees will get pay rises of between 14% and 19%. The union believes these are important steps in revaluing low paid jobs in the sector and also making the sector much more attractive at entry level which is crucial to tackle the staff shortages faced by nearly three quarters of local authorities.
May. 17, 2018 An official report supports calls by the SIPTU union for pay restoration for a wide range of social service workers employed by the non-profit sector in "Section 39" organisations. The workers often do jobs equivalent to those directly employed in the public sector. However, while public sector workers are covered by a collective agreement which should ensure that most see their pay restored to pre-austerity levels by 2020, there is no such commitment covering Section 39 workers. SIPTU says that the report also makes clear that the costs of pay restoration for these workers is entirely manageable. The union suspended strike action earlier in the year pending publication of the report and will now be looking for action from the government to deliver pay restoration.
May. 17, 2018 In advance of the third round of pay negotiations, a series of warning strikes by employees of the Red Cross have been taking place across the country to show the level of support for a decent pay rise. Public services union ver.di is calling for a pay rise of 7.5% with a minimum increase of EUR 200 a month. So far the employers have only offered a EUR 220 lump sum payment and a 2.4% increase this year with a further rise of 2.2% in July 2019. Ver.di says that the agreement should reflect current pay bargaining trends and should also include provisions on work-life balance and health that would help make working in the sector more attractive. The negotiations cover around 50000 of the Red Cross's 150000 employees who work in hospitals, emergency services, childcare, disability and eldercare and youth and training services.
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 A series of protests in March, a national rally in April and a two-hour warning strike on 7 May all helped health union Sanitas and other unions in the sector reach agreement with the government on a number of key issues. As a result the national strike planned for 11 May was called off. Health and social service workers will now get compensation for social contribution increases to protect their take-home pay. There will also be changes to the proposed 30% limit on bonuses and there is a commitment to negotiate collective agreements covering the health and social services sectors.
May. 04, 2018 EPSU has made considerable progress in bringing together trade union representatives from across Europe in two social care multinationals - Orpea and Korian. Company networks are being built in both organisations while steps have already been taken in Orpea towards setting up a European works council, with the first meeting of the Special Negotiating Body taking place on 25 April. Both companies are French-owned and have expanded rapidly in recent years with subsidiaries now operating in several European countries.
May. 03, 2018 A major conflict across the public sector was avoided as trade unions negotiated new agreements covering state, local and regional government workers. Some elements of the agreements are the same with an overall package worth 8.1% over three years. This figure includes a basic increase for all workers but also elements directly specifically at low paid workers and jobs predominantly done by women. An important element is the change in the rules linking pay developments to those in the public sector with the guarantee now that pay will move fully in parallel rather than only guaranteeing a part of the private sector increase.