Feb. 13, 2019 The vida and GPA-djp private services unions are coordinating strike action in 150 workplaces across 75 private health and social care organisations in the lead up to the next round of bargaining on 18 February that covers around 100000 workers. The employers have so far increased their pay offer from 2.37% to 2.5% and then to 2.8%/3.0% but the unions argue this still undervalues health and social care workers. They are also angry that the employers won't discuss the unions' call for a guarantee of reduced weekly working time or more annual leave without a cut in pay, with targets of a 35-hour week and 30 days' holiday. The union argue this is essential to help towards proper rest time for the thousands of stressed and overworked employees in the sector.
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.
Feb. 12, 2019
At its 2018 November Plenary, the EP adopted a resolution on “Care services in the EU for improved gender equality”. EPSU had contributed to it with a written contribution and in direct exchanges with the rapporteur, MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen, EPP, Finland.
Jan. 30, 2019 More members of the Fagforbundet public service union in the care sector are taking legal action over their employment status. A case is already underway against the Aleris company and further action has now been started against the Heimte Vitale care company where three workers are claiming rights and compensation as employees rather than as self-employed "consultants". Fagforbundet sees these as important cases and says other contractors who try to cut costs by using "consultants" should pay close attention to what's happening in the court.
Jan. 29, 2019 The vida and GPA-djp private services unions are frustrated that they are not making progress in negotiations covering over 120000 health and social care workers. In the private health sector the employers' pay offer of 2.37% has been rejected as inadequate and the unions organised a day of action on 29 January with protests in three main cities - Vienna, Linz and Graz. Meanwhile negotiations in the non-profit care sector involving the Cartias (catholic) and Diakonie (protestant) employer organsiations are also blocked. The unions say they have had enough of positive words about the value and importance of the contribution of workers in the sector and it is time for action to reward them with the pay and conditions they deserve and in line with the levels of pay for jobs of similar skills in the public and industrial sectors.
Jan. 29, 2019 Public services federations in CGIL, CSIL and UIL, representing also workers in third sector social services have negotiated a new agreement with the ANFFAS organisation that represents employers providing disability services. The agreement includes several new features - strengthening trade union relations, improving rules on working hours and sickness, extension of the right to training, improvements to parental leave and work-life balance and measures to restrict flexibility such as a limit on fixed-term contracts. There is an overall pay increase of 5% with an average of EUR 450 paid out in three tranches.
Jan. 29, 2019 The Frente Comum and FESAP federations of public service unions are planning national strike action on 15 February with FESAP unions also mobilising on the 14th. The unions have a broad range of demands on the government leading with the priority of ending the long-running pay freeze and tackling low pay. They also want government commitments on pensions, career progression and an end to precarious employment. The unions further underline the need to invest in quality public services rather than undermine them through privatisation.
Jan. 29, 2019 Home care workers employed by Birmingham City Council in Central England have mobilised for a rally on Tuesday 29 January supported by their union, Unison, and the TUC, the UK's single trade union confederation. The workers have taken over 50 days of strike action in their long-running dispute over plans by the Council to cut their working time. If the Council implements its plans then some workers will face poverty pay levels and cuts in annual salary of up to GBP 4000 (EUR 4600).
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.