Oct. 21, 2020 The FNV, NU'91 and other health unions have welcomed the decision by the health minister to support their demands on personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and social care staff. The unions have been calling since March for workers to be able to decide when they need to use PPE and to have the appropriate equipment available. The unions had criticised the guidance from the RIVM public health institute which left discretion to employers and which, unions believed, had been drawn up with the scarcity of equpment in mind. The unions' approach puts this discretion in the hands of care workers and a statement to that effect has already been circulated by employers in the care sector.
Oct. 09, 2020 The national agreement on increased funding for health and social care, including increases to workers' pay has failed to meet all the key trade union demands. The unions are particularly concerned that the so-called " Ségur de Santé" (named after the street in which the Ministry of Health is based) does not ensure that all health and social care workers across the public, private and non-profit sectors will benefit in the same way. There is also continuing frustration that nothing has been done to tackle understaffing, excessive workloads and low pay specifically in social services. This is the main focus of the CGT strike and national day of action planned for 15 October. The CFDT is planning strike action on 13 October while FO will strike on 5 November unless the ministry of health commits to ensuring all health and social care workers benefit equally from the agreement.
Oct. 08, 2020 Public service unions may be involved in new industrial action in two long-running disputes unless the government intervenes. The Forsa trade union has already set dates for strike action to try to resolve the two-tier pay system affecting school secretaries. Following the announcement of the action the government has made a commitment to address the problem but the union wants to see concrete proposals before it calls off the action. Meanwhile, Forsa is joined by SIPTU and INMO in considering a campaign of targeted action across non-profit providers of health and social services - Section 39 organisations. An agreement last year secured pay rises for workers in these bodies in a process to restore pay after the cuts imposed during austerity. Some of these organisations are now saying they don't have the funds to implement the increases and the unions want the government to step in.
Oct. 05, 2020 The Kommunal municipal workers’ union has submitted its claims for this year’s delayed negotiations with the SKR and Sobona employer organisations. The union is underlining that its key demands on pay, working hours and other conditions are fundamental to recognise the efforts made by local and regional government workers and health and social care staff in dealing with last year’s fires and the current pandemic. Kommunal is calling for a 3% pay rise for all workers with an additional 0.5% distributed locally to vocationally trained groups in health care, schools and care. The agreement should also be backdated recognising that the delayed negotiations have left workers waiting since spring for a pay rise. Other demands include permanent contracts for fixed-term employees with vocational training after 12 months; more sustainable working hours; a reduction in split shifts; full-time work as the norm; shorter weekly hours (32) for night work; more and better leave and an end to the waiting period for sick pay.
Oct. 05, 2020 FNV, NU'91 and other health and social care unions say that they are appalled that the government has failed to implement a directive on personal protective equipment (PPE) that was put to parliament four months ago. The new regulations would make clear that health and social care workers can determine their PPE needs. Currently, different regulations apply that the unions say were drafted in the light of PPE shortages rather than with the health and safety of workers in mind. They point out that this is causing problems particularly in facilities for the elderly and disabled where some employers say that workers should not cover their faces.
Sep. 24, 2020 Public service union UNISON has won a major legal victory for 10 home care workers who are set to share £100000 (EUR 109000) in compensation for underpayment of wages. The case involves the failure of private contractors to pay to cover travelling time between jobs. It could have major implications for other home care workers and UNISON is calling on the government to act to outlaw the practice. Effectively, some of the workers were being paid less than half the minimum wage by being denied payment for travel time - an essential part of their work as home care staff - with some working as long as 14 hours a day.
Sep. 24, 2020 The FNV trade union has called for compensation for employees in health and social care who have been infected with Covid-19 due to the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and criticises the government for failing to take appropriate action to protect workers and citizens. From 1 April Covid-19 was recognised as an occupational disease and the FNV argues that the government should have acted immediately to ensure provision of PPE. The union is considering legal action over the issue, noting that it has repeatedly raised problems with PPE in several meetings with various ministries. The FNV also wants the government to set up a fund to provide financial compensation to all those who have become infected at work because they have been deprived of PPE and have suffered as a result.
Sep. 10, 2020 Negotiations are underway in local government and while unions are aiming for a real pay increase they are also setting their sights on improvements in other working conditions. They want more investment in competence development and training during working time. However, a key demand is for more full-time work. Around two thirds of health and social care workers and 40% of those in childcare and education work part-time. Unions argue that this does not make the sector attractive and that full-time hours are needed to deliver decent pay. They also point to the benefits to the quality of services and health and safety and particularly in the current situation the increase in infection control that would come from fewer shift changes.
Sep. 09, 2020 In anticipation of annual pay negotiations, the GÖD public service union has written to the government calling for sustained, real increases in pay and allowances for all public sector workers. The union argues that public employees have faced increasingly difficult working conditions as they have responded to the pandemic and its knock-on effects on employment and the economy by maintaining quality public services. The union points out the importance of public services to support Austria as a successful international economy and that a pay rise for the public sector would make an important contribution to domestic demand and economic recovery. The current pay agreement runs until the end of December this year and the GÖD wants a prompt start to the negotiations to ensure that pay increases apply from 1 January 2021.
Sep. 09, 2020 A survey of 1600 care workers by the FNV trade union has revealed disturbing levels of concern about safety, overwork and low pay. Some 70% of workers feel unsafe because government measures to tackle the pandemic are not properly enforced and only 25% say they have adequate personal protective equipment for a second wave. Three in four say they have a high or very high workload and 90% feel they are not appreciated by government or politicians. Seven in 10 want a structural pay increase and not a corona bonus payment. They say this is essential to make the sector more protective and address the 80000 vacancies that have occurred over the last two years. This situation is set to worsen as one in four health workers are thinking of quitting. The survey was published as part of the FNV's week of campaigning on health and social care and the impact of the pandemic.
Sep. 09, 2020 Public services union ver.di reports that the first exchange with employers in the negotiations covering 2.3 million federal and municipal workers was a disappointment. The union has set out a series of key demands with the main one being a 4.8% pay rise with a minimum increase of EUR 150 a month. While the employers responded with some positive words about the efforts of public service workers during the pandemic they didn't come up with a pay offer. In fact, they underlined the challenges facing public finances and called for a long-term deal rather than the 12-month agreement demanded by ver.di. The union has launched a photo petition to support the negotiations, the next round of which takes place on 19-20 September.