Low pay/minimum wages
Oct. 23, 2020 With the European Commission expected to publish its draft directive on fair minimum wages on 28 October, the ETUC has put together a range of documents and press releases that cover a wide range of arguments in favour of legislation on minimum wages and collective bargaining. The ETUC argues that initiatives to boost pay and strengthen collective bargaining are essential as part of the response to the pandemic and that it is crucial not to repeat the mistakes following the last crisis when collective bargaining was undermined in some countries as part of austerity measures.
Oct. 22, 2020 The STAL local government union has organised a march and demonstration outside parliament for 23 October. The union wants the government to ensure that the 2021 budget includes funding for key measures on pay. The union has four main demands - a EUR 90 increase for all workers; implementation of an allowance for dangerous and arduous work; changes to the pay structure to abolish pay levels that fall below the national minimum wage; and reinstatement of compensation payments for accidents at work. The final point relates to compensation for permanent partial incapacity that was the victim of cuts imposed by the Troika after the last crisis. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Oct. 06, 2020 UNISON, GMB and Unite, the trade unions representing non-teaching staff, have joined with teaching unions in setting out their pay claim for colleges of further education. The unions are calling for a significant move towards the full restoration of pay levels to where they would be had college pay kept pace with inflation since 2009. They also want to see the living wage, as calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, to be the minimum wage in the sector, with all colleges in England becoming accredited living wage employers with the Foundation. The unions also want all contracted-out services to be brought back in-house with improvements in terms and conditions equal to those already directly employed by the college.
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. 23, 2020 The ETUC has welcomed statements from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that she supports collective bargaining and decent minimum wages, however, it wants to see the concrete details which are not expected to be revealed before 28 October. Von der Leyen's State of the European Union speech refers to the problem of low pay while in an interview in Sweden she underlined her support for collective bargaining. She also stressed that the Commission would guarantee protection for strong collective bargaining systems like those in Sweden and would not force the introduction of national minimum wages where they don't currently exist. The ETUC is discussing an action plan to lobby EU institutions and Member States to ensure that any directive on collective bargaining and minimum wages meets the key criteria set out in its reply to the second stage consultation on fair minimum wages. Researchers Torsten Müller and Thorsten Schulten have written an article explaining the background to the thinking on the ETUC's minimum wage threshold.
Sep. 10, 2020 ETUC Executive Committee members have voted by a large majority in support of the Confederation's submission to the European Commission's second stage consultation on fair minimum wages. In the submission, the ETUC calls for a directive that sets a minimum level for national minimum wages across Europe and introduces measures to strengthen and promote collective bargaining. The document also underlines the importance of not introducing any provisions that might undermine industrial relations systems where collective bargaining is strong and where social partners do not support the introduction of legal minimum wages. The vote was 85% in favour. The vote in the EPSU Executive Committee was also over 80% with 39 votes in favour, eight against and no abstentions. The ETUC has also released data showing how EU countries with the lowest levels of collective bargaining have the lowest pay levels.
Sep. 10, 2020 The SIPTU union has called on the government to set a budget that includes a guaranteed living wage for all childcare workers along with a sick pay scheme. The living wage is €12.30 an hour while the average wage in the sector is €11.46 and the union argues that higher pay will be important in reducing the 40% staff turnover among childcare workers. SIPTU also points out that 79% of childcare workers don't have a sick pay scheme and this is inhibiting the sector's response to ensuring safe workplaces for both workers and children.
Aug. 27, 2020 The FNV trade union is involved in two major campaigns. The first, running from 1-5 September, is a nationwide action across health and social care in response to COVID-19. The union wants to see proper recognition of the role played by health and social care workers and is calling for better pay and working conditions, reduced workloads and more autonomy for workers. The FNV is underlining the importance of preparing for a second wave of the pandemic and argues that action is needed to make the health and care sectors more attractive to increase recruitment. Meanwhile, the union is running a campaign and petition across local government to establish a EUR 14 an hour minimum wage. Six local authorities have already signed up and the plan is to develop the campaign over the next six months in the lead up to the general election in March next year.
Jul. 28, 2020 Data from the Wage Indicator pay database covering five countries reveals that many of the key workers who have been on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 are on below)average wages. The research looked at nine jobs in childcare, call centres, retail, nursing, admin, logistics, warehouses and transport in the UK, German, Netherlands, France and Sweden. In the UK all occupations fell below the national average wage while in Germany it was all but one and in the Netherlands all but two. The situation for these workers was better in France and Sweden.
Jul. 06, 2020
ETUC Executive Committee discussed Minimum Wage, Digital Agenda and violation of information and consultation rights
The main debate in the ETUC Executive was about the response of the ETUC to the 2nd consultation of the European Commission on addressing the challenges for fair minimum wages.
Jul. 01, 2020 The FOA trade union is gearing up for the public sector pay negotiations over a new collective agreement to follow the current agreement that expires in March 2021. There had been some discussion about postponing the negotiations but they will now go ahead with unions expecting tough bargaining conditions. Public sector wage increases are linked to developments in the private sector and so there will be some constraints but unions are determined to secure pay rises for their members and the FOA is stressing again the need to support low paid workers who have been less advantaged by pay increases that are normally set at percentages rather than as flat-rate amounts. The union is hoping that as lock-down restrictions continue to relaxed, union members will be able to meet from the autumn to discuss the main bargaining demands.
Jun. 23, 2020
On 3 June the European Commission launched the second stage consultation on potential legislation on fair minimum wages. EPSU convened an online working group on 19 June to discuss the key issues and the draft response to the consultation from the ETUC. There were 29 participants from EPSU affiliates in 15 countries.
Jun. 05, 2020 On 3 June, the European Commission launched the second-stage consultation on an initiative to deliver fair minimum wages. The deadline for responses is 4 September. In an initial reaction, the ETUC welcomed the greater emphasis on collective bargaining. However, there is no detailed proposal from the Commission. The ETUC has underlined the importance of action on wages, noting the impact of the current crisis and the fact that in several countries wages have yet to recover from the previous crisis. A draft response is due from the ETUC shortly and this will be discussed at an EPSU collective bargaining working group on 19 June.
May. 04, 2020 The Sanidad-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have called for a range of actions in the elder care sector in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Both federations were already campaigning to secure better pay and conditions for the workforce, 90% of which are women. They both argue that the impact of the pandemic has further exposed the fundamental problems of low pay, inadequate staffing, stress, excessive workloads. These have been compounded by the lack of personal protective equipment and inadequate testing which have exposed both workers and service users to the virus. Key union demands include an audit of care homes, higher pay and increased staffing, more funding from central government and a greater role for the public sector.