2017 September epsucob@NEWS 16
IN THIS ISSUE
- Czech Republic: pay rise confirmed for public sector
- UK: unions campaign against pay cap
- Russia: health unions call for more funding
- EU: ETUC exposes declining wage share
- France: Strike at Veolia over job cuts
- Germany: health staff work to rule
- Austria: call for increased care funding
- Netherlands: childcare negotiations to focus on flexibility
- Denmark: unions demand government action on pay gap
- Norway: nurses' strike passes 100-day mark
- Europe: Semester analysis shows pressure for bargaining reform
- Europe: more collective bargaining news from ETUI
- Italy: health sector bargaining gets underway
- Spain: overseas development staff take strike action
Sep. 11, 2017 Workers employed in the Agency for International Co-operation for Development (AECID) took strike action on 8 September in protest over pay and conditions. Around 40% of staff have either left or are thinking of leaving the service because of deteriorating conditions pay frozen since 2009 and eroded by inflation and currency fluctuations. This has left some workers as much as 60% worse off in real terms. Unlike workers in other overseas departments AECID employees don't get any protection against local changes in the cost of living and this is the key demand of the strike.
Sep. 12, 2017 The coalition government has confirmed that it will implement a 10% pay rise for public sector workers (15% for teachers) in November. Public sector trade unions had expected the increases to be applied in September and issued a threat of strike action if the government failed to ensure that the increases would take effect in November.
Sep. 13, 2017 A group of 14 trade unions, including the FOA public services union, the BUPL and SL childcare and social worker unions and the cartel of health unions, has written to the government calling on it to take action to address the persistent gender pay gap. The unions identify the problem as one of labour market structure, with female-dominated work, particularly in health and social services, undervalued and paid less than occupations and sectors dominated by men. The unions argue that at the current pace it will take over 110 years to achieve equal pay. They say that, because this is a structural labour market issue, it cannot be left to trade unions and employers to negotiate and the government needs to take responsibility for the extra funding needed for higher increases in sectors and occupations dominated by women.
Sep. 13, 2017 On 12 September, service union ver.di organised a nationwide action by healthworkers to highlight the massive problem of understaffing in the sector. Staff were asked to ensure that they followed precisely the rules for disinfecting their hands before dealing with each new patient. Ver.di selected this as one example of the many tasks that workers simply don't have time to do properly because of the pressure of work. The union points out that workers are often under pressure to make decisions about which jobs they need to do, leading to stress and even sickness. This is the latest step in ver.di's campaign calling for national legally binding staffing levels along with the funding to cover the additional staff that are urgently needed.
Sep. 14, 2017 The latest edition of collective bargaining news from the European Trade Union Institute has many articles related to the public services including news on pay developments in Croatia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Slovenia, Turkey and the UK. There is also coverage of protests and industrial action in Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the UK.
Sep. 14, 2017 The European Trade Union Institute has published an updated analysis of the treatment of social issues in the European Semester - the process of economic policy coordination. This reveals, for example, the extent to which the country-specific recommendations address the question of collective bargaining, with the European institutions calling for reforms in many countries, with the accent on decentralisation of bargaining despite the lack of evidence that this produces any economic benefits.
Sep. 14, 2017 Public service unions have stepped up their campaign to end the public sector pay cap for all workers following the government's decision to offer higher pay rises to police, prison officers and firefighters. The unions used the annual meeting of the Trade Union Congress to make the case that all public service workers have seen their real pay decline significantly and deserve a higher pay rise. The FBU firefighters' union has rejected the 2% pay offer arguing that it comes with too many unacceptable conditions.
Sep. 14, 2017 The health workers' union has called for increased funding for the sector to deal with the major problem of healthworkers' pay. The union reports that an analysis of wage developments in the first half of 2017 found that average pay for doctors and other medical staff actually fell in seven Russian regions while in contrast wages in industry increased. The wide range of salaries across the country is exacerbating staff shortages and the union highlights the fact that in many institutions the pay bill is the first to be cut in order to fund other areas of health spending.
Sep. 14, 2017 The strike by nurses at the Norwegian Cancer Society has passed the 100-day mark and the NSF trade union is determined to maintain the action. The strike, the longest by nurses in Norway, is in protest at the Society's decision to switch employer organisations and by so doing sign up to a different collective agreement which means poorer pay and conditions for the nurses. The strike has received widespread support not only from the trade union movement but also from patient and retirement associations.
Sep. 14, 2017 In the latest stage in its Pay Rise campaign the ETUC has published a briefing that reveals the long-term decline in wages as a share of economic output. In 1976 almost 73% of national wealth was paid in wages to working people. Today the figures is nearly 10 percentage points less – with wages making up about 63% of national wealth. The ETUC argues that increases in productivity have not been equitably shared, resulting in the growing proportion of economic output going to profits. The briefing also includes charts showing that these increased profits are flowing to shareholders while investment has been falling.
Sep. 14, 2017 The GPA-djp and vida private service trade unions met with the private care employers' organisation (SWÖ) to highlight the major staffing challenge facing the sector and the urgent need for additional funding to cover better pay and conditions to increase recruitment to the sector. The unions underlined the impact of serious staff shortages that are leading to increased workloads, burnout and stress for many care workers. They want to see legally enforceable staffing levels, that set minimum standards both in terms of numbers of staff with the appropriate qualifications.
Sep. 14, 2017 In the run-up to negotiating a new collective agreement covering 80000 workers in the childcare sector, the FNV trade union has published the results of a survey that reveal excessive flexibility in working hours and too many fixed-term contracts as major issues for childcare workers. The union argues that many workers have so few set hours that they can be called on at short notice to work additional hours, creating uncertainty and stress. With the increasing demand for workers in the sector the FNV argues that these issues need to be addressed if more qualified workers are to be recruited.
Sep. 14, 2017 The three main public service trade unions in the health sector - Fp Cgil, Cisl Fp and Uil Fpl - took part in the first round of negotiations with the ARAN employers' organisation over renewing the collective agreement covering 550000 healthworkers. As well as ensuring that the basic pay agreement provides for the average €85 a month increase foreseen across the public sector, the unions are particularly concerned to address issues around work organisation and working time. They also emphasise that after eight years without any negotiations, there have been many changes in the sector in terms of service provision and staff responsibilities that need to be addressed.
Sep. 14, 2017 Trade unions at the Veolia water company are taking strike action over the company's plans for restructuring - the fourth in only three years. These will impact on over 1500 posts with 572 specified as job cuts. The unions are particularly angry that the company is talking about compulsory redundancies. This would be a first for the sector. The unions want the company to withdraw this threat and to properly negotiate over the changes with a view to providing workers with training and retraining opportunities.