Sep. 24, 2020 Trade unions have welcomed the legislation that will see a doubling of the entitlement to paternity leave from 14 to 28 days, including three compulsory days around the time of birth. The measure will be implemented from July 2021. Although unions have been calling for even longer leave, they see this as an important step in the right direction and an important initiative to increase the share of parenting between men and women. Employers cover three days of leave while the rest will be funded by social security and employers will face fines if they deny workers their rights.
Sep. 11, 2020 The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread use of short-time working in response has rekindled the debate about permanent shifts to shorter working hours. Germany's biggest engineering union, IG Metall, has put forward ideas about a move to a 32-hour week and this had been taken up by the CGT trade union confederation in France which has had a 32-hour-week policy for some time. In the UK, the Autonomy research organisation has proposed and costed a plan for the public sector to take the lead and move to a 32-hour week without loss of pay.
Sep. 10, 2020
Our colleague Francoise Geng, EPSU vice-President and of the French union CGT-Sante Action Social became a Chevaliere in the French order of the Légion d'honneur.
Jul. 13, 2020 Health and social care unions have reacted differently to the government's €7.5 billion package on pay and jobs. The CFDT has welcomed the proposals that it says will mean a €90 net increase a month for most health workers from September with a further €93 increase from March 2021. On top of this a working group will be set up to look at revaluating pay for certain occupations which will be implemented in January 2022. The lowest paid workers in the sector, currently on the minimum wage should see their pay increase by 15%. Around 8000 jobs will be created and 7300 vacancies filled. The FO trade union is supporting the proposal on the basis that it is a first step in the right direction. The CGT is disappointed by the package particularly because it says does not go far enough to address the problem of proper compensation for long working hours with nothing offered in relation to on-call and overtime, nor anything extra for night, weekend and holiday work. The union has called for support for a demonstration already planned for 14 July and warns that further resignations of health staff were likely and will only add to the pressure on services.
Jul. 01, 2020 Trade unions organising in the health and social care sectors took to the streets again on 30 June as part of their long-running campaign to secure increased public funding, more jobs and better pay and conditions for workers in both public and private sectors, improved training, an end to closures of facilities. A further day of action is planned for 14 July. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Jun. 18, 2020 Health and social care workers took part in over 250 demonstrations across the country on 16 June in a major mobilisation by trade unions and campaigning groups. An estimated 80000 joined the main protest in Paris. Although partly in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis, the mobilisation is part of a long-running campaign by trade unions to secure increased health funding, better pay and conditions for workers, increased staffing and a block on closures and privatisation.
Jun. 05, 2020 Ten health trade unions and organisations representing service users have come together to call for a national day of protest and strikes on 16 June. The joint action follows similar initiatives over the past year and more, highlighting that understaffing and underfunding have contributed to the difficulties faced in dealing with the pandemic. The key demands include increased funding, improved pay and conditions for health workers, action on training and recruitment, an end to closures of health facilities and guarantees on access and quality of services.
Jun. 03, 2020 The five main health trade unions – CGT, CFDT, FO, SUD and UNSA – have written a joint open letter to the health minister calling on him to set out clear proposals for a process of negotiation over the content of the plan for health that he intends to publish on 25 May. The plan should include initiatives on pay and working time but the unions not that they were not consulted at all in advance of the minister’s statement on 17 May and want clear reassurances that proper negotiations will take place with them as the representative unions in the sector. They have also called for a timetable for the negotiations and have underlined that they want to raise all the key issues on pay, jobs and services that they have been campaigning for in recent years. French unions
May. 08, 2020 Health trade unions have issued a joint statement reiterating their serious concerns about the failures in provision of safety equipment and testing for health workers who have been struggling to maintain services despite the risks they have been facing. The unions also warn that the situation with protective equipment and tests needs to be resolved before any major moves to de-confinement otherwise there would be a major risk of a second wave of infection. The joint statement contains a reaffirmation of the key demands of the unions that they have been campaigning around over the last two years including, revaluation of pay and jobs; increased funding; more training and increased recruitment; a stop on closure of facilities and guarantee of access to services for all.
Apr. 08, 2020 The impact of the crisis on health staff has been highlighted by public services trade unions as the evidence from the CFDT shows. The union is pushing for official recognition of COVID-19 as an occupational disease and for a fund to be set up to deal with the long-term effects. Trade unions are pushing hard for more personal protective equipment and the CGT has given a formal notice of potential strike action across the public services to allow its members to take action where they feel that there is a real threat to workers and citizens. Action has already been taken in the care sector, for example, by workers at a care home in Le Havre who have been overwhelmed by the catastrophic situation there. Meanwhile, the FO trade union has launched a general legal action challenging the failure to take adequate action to address the emergency and calling on those responsible to face up to the deaths and infections that have resulted. For UNSA, its calls for increased protection, particularly for health workers, have been echoed by the independent and influential Académie Nationale de Médecine.
Mar. 05, 2020 Trade unions have reacted angrily to the decision by the government to curtail debate over pension reforms by using a constitutional mechanism to pass legislation by ordonnance rather than the normal parliamentary process. Some unions organised demonstrations across the country at short notice to underline their continuing opposition to the reforms. Others were concerned about the method used to close down debate when there are still major issues still to be resolved, particularly in relation to pension for workers in arduous occupations.
Feb. 18, 2020 Thirteen trade union organisations and health campaigning groups came together on 14 February to strike and join demonstrations calling for urgent action on the funding and provision of health and social services. This follows the previous national action on 17 December (EPSU CB News 24, December 2019). The key demands are for an increase in funding, action on recruitment and training, recognition of the arduousness of work in the sector, a stop on closures of facilities, opening up governance of hospitals to workers and patients and ensuring equal access to quality services.