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.
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.
Dec. 05, 2018 The ETUI research organisation has published a new report and issue of its health and safety magazine, HesaMag, that both cover the risks of workplace cancers. As many as 100000 deaths a year are linked to workplace carcinogens but it is not just hazardous substances that are of concern. The ETUI publications also cover other risks such as night work which has been linked to higher risk of breast cancer with some specific cases affecting hospital staff. HesaMag also looks at the problems of getting proper recognition of the risks faced by workers in sectors like cleaning, maintenance and waste-recycling.
Oct. 15, 2018
On 11 October 2018, EPSU’s Utilities Standing Committee came together to discuss several urgent issues.
Aug. 17, 2018 The GMB general and public services union has raised concerns about safety in the waste sector. The union says that official figures show that deaths among refuse workers rose from eight to 12 last year while staff faced 1,000 instances of dangerous driving every single day. The GMB points out that workers are facing these serious threats to their safety while having seen their pay plummet in real terms since 2011.The average earnings of a refuse worker are just over £19,000 a year (EUR 21250), 7.4% lower in real terms than in 2011.
Jul. 19, 2018 The tragic death of 54-year-old Michele Lorusso, an employee of a private waste contractor near Bari in southern Italy, has prompted calls for urgent action on safety in the sector. The incident happened when Michele was on his own and attempting to fix a waste truck that had broken down. The FP-CGIL trade union says that this is just the latest in a long line of incidents with the sector registering a rise in accidents and occupational diseases in recent years. The union wants to see health and safety in the industry now given the highest priority.
Apr. 20, 2018 The FP-CGIL public service union has raised serious concerns about the introduction of Amazon-style electronic bracelets for waste collection workers by a private company in Livorno. The bracelets communicate with waste containers to check they are empty. Union says that this degree of surveillance is excessive considering that there are already supervisors who monitor the work along with GPS systems in trucks. FP-CGIL says that employers should be concentrating more on dealing with the serious health and safety issues in the sector.
Apr. 04, 2018 Waste workers in the UK and France are taking or planning industrial action over a wide range of issues. Public and private sector workers in France, organised by the CGT union, are taking action over major demands on pay, pensions and health and safety. Meanwhile, in Hull in North East England workers employed by the FCC multinational are protesting over sick pay and inThurrock in South East England the issue is one of surveillance. Workers there are objecting to live streaming to management from cameras in all refuse lorries.
Mar. 29, 2018
Standing committee comes together to fight for public ownership, the democratic control of utilities and the right to water
During the standing committee on Utilities, which took place on 22 March, several key issues were addressed by EPSU and its affiliates.
Feb. 19, 2018
A report written by The Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) and commissioned by European Public Service Union (EPSU) investigates the impact of privatization and liberalization on waste services.
Feb. 08, 2018 Waste workers in northern Germany, members of the ver.di trade union have criticised their employer, Remondis, for switching to a different sector collective agreement. From the beginning of February the company said it would apply the freight and logistics agreement rather than the private waste agreement. The company argues that this makes no difference but the union points out that it delivers no improvements. Ver.di says that drivers are on a starting wage of EUR 11.95 an hour (less in some areas) and that many don't progress from this level. Meanwhile, the Rethmann Group which owns Remondis, has seen profits increase. The union is aiming for local agreements and a pay rise of 6%.
Jan. 25, 2018 Services union ver.di has negotiated significant pay increases (18% in 2018 and 7.5% in 2019) for employees of the Alba Logistik waste company in Berlin. The hourly rates are now EUR 12.57 for a driver and EUR 10.74 for a waste worker, Apprentices will also see higher monthly payments with EUR 700 in their first year, rising to EUR 780 in 2019. The result was achieved after three rounds of negotiations and a warning strike last year. Ver.di also attributes the success to a high level of union organisation in the company.
Dec. 15, 2017 The FNV trade union has welcomed a new two-year agreement covering 7000 workers in the waste and environment sector. Pay will increase by 6% over the two years but with a EUR 900 flat-rate increase in the second year it will mean that lower paid workers will see wages rise by 7.5%. There is also a commitment to provide permanent contracts for 360 temporary workers, to reduce hours for older staff while taking on young workers and paid partner leave at the birth of a child will now be a minimum of four weeks. Private sector waste workers are covered by a separate (transport) three-year agreement signed earlier this year with a 2% pay increase a year plus additions for specific jobs.