The ver.di services union is celebrating a major victory in Berlin where members in the health sector have been on strike for 31 days. Workers at the Charité university hospital, Vivantes clinics and their joint subsidiary, Labor Berlin, have now suspended the action, pending negotiations over new collective agreements. The key points in the new deal at the Charité hospital include more than 700 additional nursing staff to be hired over the next three years and there will be new benchmarks for staffing for specific wards such as intensive care units, operating theatres and central emergency
Staffing levels, Pay settlements
On 28 September workers at seven university medical centres took strike action with only emergency services being maintained. This is the biggest ever action in academic hospitals which employ around 80000 workers. The FNV and CNV trade unions have rejected the employers’ latest offer which would have meant only a 1% pay rise and EUR 750 lump sum in a three-year agreement. They are calling for a 3% pay increase for each year and a minimum increase of EUR 75 a month as well as urgent action on workloads. The unions argue that excessive workloads are creating problems with increasing sickness
The vpod/ssp public services union has launched an initiative to support its local activists in mobilising to win better pay and conditions for health workers across the country. The strike at the CHUV University Hospital in Lausanne was the starting signal for the union’s “Road to Strike” organizing campaign. Vpod/ssp argues that the situation in health establishments has worsened due to the pandemic with many workers facing burnout and leaving the sector. The persistent staffing shortages undermine working conditions and further pressures come from private health companies’ search for profit
The ver.di services union has called a three-day warning strike from 23 August in the hospitals in Berlin run by the regional government’s Charité group, including its Vivantes subsidiaries. The union gave the employer 100 days to initiate collective bargaining to tackle overwork by hospital employees and trainees and to bring pay in line with the public service collective agreement in all Vivantes subsidiaries. The strike will go ahead if the deadline of 20 August is missed. Ver.di says that Charité has failed to make any serious offer and it has called on the employer to conclude agreements
The five national trade union confederations sent a solidarity message to the MESZK chamber of healthcare professionals in support of its protest march in Budapest on 31 July. The demonstrators called for pay increases for nurses in line with those already awarded to doctors and argued this was crucial to help stem the migration of nurses to western Europe. Earlier this year the five confederations also came together to file a complaint with the International Labour Organisation over the government’s imposition of new legislation which removes the rights to negotiate and take strike action
With forest fires and flooding posing increasing demands on the fire service, the Fp Cgil public service union has called for employee numbers to be increased to 40000. The union argues that the current complement of 35000 is inadequate with many firefighters working double shifts, longer hours and more overtime. Fp Cgil says that excessive workloads leave workers no time for training and is worried that in the next negotiations the fire service will actually push for longer hours rather than address the staffing shortage. The union says that recruitment is crucial to reduce the average age
A new report from the Eurofound research agency analyses the extent of labour shortages across Europe and some of the measures being taken to address them. One of the main sectors of interest is health and social care and the report highlights the risks posed by such shortages to the viability of high-quality care provision. These were seen as particularly acute in Germany and in the Nordic countries, where shortages of skilled staff have led to long waiting times for patients. They also mean high workloads for professionals, ultimately contributing to higher turnover rates and reducing the
The FNV and other trade unions have negotiated a collective agreement covering workers in provincial councils that will run to 31 December this year (backdated to 1 January). Salaries rise by EUR 50 from 1 January 2021 with a further increase of 1.2% from 1 July. There will also be a one-off payment of EUR 750 (pro-rata for part timers) on 1 September in appreciation of the flexibility shown during the corona crisis. The agreement also includes provision to ensure sustainability of employment covering parental leave, measures to support older workers and help for employees facing major life
Around 30000 mainly energy workers covered by the AVEU collective agreement will get a 3.8% pay rise over the next two years. Pay will rise by 2.3% from 1 June 2021 and by 1.5% from 1 November 2022 (trainees get two increases of EU 50). The agreement runs for 27 months until 31 August 2023. There will also be a corona payment of EUR 600 paid by January 2022 at the latest with a pro-rata amount for part-time employees and EUR 300 for apprentices. All union members are to get two days off to attend specialist events and training courses. The AVEU agreement covers around 130 companies in Eastern
The FNV trade union’s campaign for urgent action on workloads in childcare has been stepped up with some regional mobilisations cancelled in order to concentrate on a national strike on 8 July. The union is angry that calls for increased staffing and reduced numbers of children per worker have fallen on deaf ears and the employers have offered nothing to address the problem.
Services union ver.di coordinated demonstrations across the country on 16 June to coincide with a meeting of health ministers. In the lead up to the general election in September, the union has been determined to show members’ anger over the failure to deliver improved working conditions for health and social care employees. A survey of over 12000 workers commissioned by ver.di revealed that 78% could not imagine staying in their profession until retirement under current conditions. Almost three quarters of respondents reported excessive workloads and understaffing. The union is concerned
The SKVNS trade union has signed a new collective agreement in the municipal sector that will deliver a 5% pay increase, reimbursement of travel-to-work costs on public transport, 100% allowance for work on holidays and extra time off for parents. Meanwhile the SPGS firefighters’ union is planning a 48-hour strike on 30 June in protest at the government’s failure to engage in any proper social dialogue over a period of more than 14 months. The union wants to negotiate a collective agreement but also wants a guarantee that the government will also implement existing commitments.
Public sector unions have negotiated a wage settlement with the Virke employers’ organisation that includes private and non-profit companies delivering public services. The deal is in line with the settlement in the government sector, with a 2.7% pay increase but with a flat rate payment of NOK 1,500 (EUR 145) at all salary levels, backdated to 1 May. In addition, there is NOK 4,000 (EUR 390) for the lower paid and an equal pay supplement starting at NOK 3,800 (EUR 370) and falling by NOK 200 (EUR 20) for each move up the salary scale. A further 1.8% is set aside for local negotiations, with
After a final, lengthy round of bargaining, the cross-sector negotiations covering the private sector ended in the early hours of 8 June. The three trade union confederations are in the process of consulting with their members on the outcome. The main development is the proposed increase in the minimum wage – the first since 2008 – which will see an increase in the monthly amount from EUR 1625.72 to EUR 1702 in April 2022. There will be further increases in 2024 and 2026 which along with changes to taxation will mean net increases of EUR 100 and EUR 150. The deal also includes some
Public service federations – Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp and Uil-Fpl – have signed a collective agreement with the Misericordie non-profit association that delivers various health and social services. The agreement covers the period 2017-2019 and delivers an EUR 85 a month increase which brings the agreement in line with that negotiated by the ANPAS national association for social assistance. Workers will also get a EUR 1200 lump sum that will be paid in four instalments by January 2022 and vouchers to the value of Eur 200 to be paid around Christmas. A productivity bonus will be suspended pending