Waste, Staffing levels
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
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 four main unions in the waste sector - Fp Cgil, Fit Cisl, Uiltrasporti and Fiadel – will be consulting with their activists on 16 September in the lead up to the next sector negotiations due on 20 September. The unions will discuss mobilisation across the sector if the employers fail to respond to the unions’ key demands for the renewal of the collective agreement that expired 26 months ago. The unions are looking for a number of key improvements including extension of the sector agreement to cover recycling plants, strengthening of the industrial relations system, better health and safety
After two days of rallies and protests by waste workers, Tbilisi city council agreed to increase the salaries of employees of the Tbilservice waste management company from January 2022 and to solve a range of other issues by the end of August. The trade union of services, banks and utilities negotiated a number of measures relating to the inviolability of the protesters; cancellation of planned changes to work schedules; granting of employee insurance from 1 January 2022; additional paid leave to 24 working days; update of special clothes provision; and upgrading of vehicles.
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 SINTAP public service trade union has negotiated a new collective agreement with the Inova company that provides waste, water and other municipal services in Cantanhede in the Coimbra district. The union highlights in particular the progressive reduction of working hours in 2022 and 2023 to 35 a week; changes to the timing of night work; additional holiday entitlement – an extra day for each 10 years of service and general increase in annual leave to 25 by 2023. There will also be increases to meal and other allowances as well as higher pay. In contrast, the STAL local government union
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 STAL municipal union has joined with the FIEQUMETAL industrial union in a series of public “tribunals” to denounce the EGF/Mota&Engil waste and construction company. The unions’ aim is to expose the poverty wages paid by the company and its failure to enter into a proper process of collective bargaining. The joint action started in Coimbra in central Portugal on 12 July, moving on to Guimarães in the north of the country on 20 July with further events planned for 26 July and 2 August. The two unions argue that the company is denying them the right to collective bargaining while maintaining
Trade unions in the electricity and waste sectors reported very high levels of support for their industrial action and protests on 30 June. The unions want article 177 of the procurement code to be deleted as they argue that it requires widespread outsourcing across their sectors, posing a major threat to jobs and working conditions. They say that if the article is not deleted there will be increasing fragmentation of these industries and it will undermine initiatives towards a circular economy and low carbon energy sector. Meanwhile, the three main confederations have also been mobilising to
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.
Poor treatment of employees, outdated equipment and low quality of services – outsourcing and privatisation of municipal services has similar negative effects whether it takes place in Poland or Norway.
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