2018 October epsucob@NEWS 20
IN THIS ISSUE
- UK: Massive strike for equal pay
- Germany: Court victory for dismissed care workers
- Spain: Prison unions begin their campaign of strike action
- Portugal: More unions join national public sector strike
- Slovenia: Public sector strike planned for December
- Iceland: Women strike over equal pay
- Finland: Union steps up action against proposed dismissal law
- Italy and Spain: Firefighters want action to improve services
- Ukraine: Trade union demonstration calls for action on jobs, pay and rights
- Croatia : Unions protest over pension changes
- Russia: Health union vows to challenge pension age increase
- Switzerland: Union wins right to strike case
- Austria: First round of bargaining on public sector pay
- Europe: ETUC takes initiative on self-employed workers' rights
Oct. 24, 2018 Over 8000 workers employed by Glasgow City Council in Scotland took strike action on 23-24 October to put pressure on their employer to deliver equal pay. The dispute dates back as far as 2006 when a new pay scheme was supposed to end to pay inequality based on gender. Instead, its implementation introduced new discriminatory measures. The action involved women in a wide range of jobs, including school administration workers, learning support workers in schools, nursery workers, home carers, cleaners and catering workers.
Oct. 24, 2018 On 17 October the Labour Court in Nordhausen in central Germany ruled that two employees of the Celenus social care company had been unfairly dismissed for trade union activity and should be reinstated. Carmen Laue and Heike Schmidt, members of the ver.di service union, were summarily sacked in April for distributing leaflets as part of a long-running, and continuing campaign for better pay at Celenus which is part of the Orpea social care multinational. EPSU and its affiliates from France, Austria, Belgium, Italy and Spain that also organise in Orpea sent messages of support.
Oct. 24, 2018 EPSU's affiliates in the prison services - FSC-CCOO, FeSP-UGT and ACAIP-USO - began their planned six-day strike campaign on 24 October. The unions are calling on the government to abide by its commitment to fund pay increases in the sector that are needed to deal urgently with staff shortages and to address the question of major pay disparities in different institutions. The strike action follows a long period of campaigning, lobbying and negotiating and the unions have agreed that further strikes will take place on 26 October with a further four days in November (6, 8 13 and 15).
Oct. 24, 2018 On 22 October the GÖD and younion public service unions took part in the first round of bargaining over a pay rise for 2019. The meeting established that the basis for negotiations was the 2.02% inflation rate in the year to September and forecast growth of 3% for next year. Younion wants to ensure that any negotiated increase will apply across the whole of the public sector, rather than in previous years when some regional governments have failed to implement the nationally agreed rate. The next round of bargaining is set for 12 November.
Oct. 25, 2018 The JHL public services union stepped up its industrial action against proposed changes in dismissal rights with a 48-hour strike by around 10000 members who work in cleaning, property maintenance and food service sectors and sports and culture services. The strike is part of widespread trade union industrial action against plans to reduce dismissal protection for workers in small companies. The unions argue that not only is the change unfair, creating two-tier labour law but also threatens to impact women workers more than men. Trade unions are also angry that the government is trying to change employment legislation without any negotiation or consultation with the union movement.
Oct. 25, 2018 Firefighters' unions in Spain and Italy are calling for government action to address a number of longstanding issues. In Italy the FP-CGIL trade union has declared a state of agitation around a number of key demands related to the collective agreement, recruitment, occupational safety, pensions and the right to elect workplace representatives. The union wants to see action to reduce bureaucracy and increase investment. Meanwhile, in Spain the unions want a framework law to establish a clear national structure for the service which is characterised by significant differences across the regions. The FSC-CCOO mobilising for a demonstration on 26 October to highlight the demand.
Oct. 25, 2018 Women workers across the country walked out of their workplaces at 14.55 on 24 October to highlight pay inequality as well as raising issues about sexual harassment and violence. The latest statistics show the gender pay gap in Iceland is still 26% and so in a normal 9 to 5 day this is the equivalent of women only being paid up to 14.55. The strike is a longstanding tradition in the country and supported by EPSU's affiliate, BSRB, the confederation of municipal and state employees.
Oct. 25, 2018 The one-day public sector strike on 26 October, initially called by trade unions in the Frente Comum linked to the CGTP confederation has also received support from trade unions in the UGT confederation. The striking unions have a broad range of demands including increases to pay and pensions, ensuring the 35-hour week covers all public service workers, measures to tackle staff shortages and to improve health and safety and action to strengthen collective bargaining and that collective agreements are correctly applied.
Oct. 26, 2018 The vpod/ssp public services union has won an important victory in the federal court ensuring the right to strike for health workers. The union took the case because in November 2017 the Fribourg regional (canton) parliament introduced a strike ban covering health workers. The workers had been involved in a number of actions to stop outsourcing and the deterioration of the working conditions, prompting the initiative from the regional parliament.
Oct. 26, 2018 Unions from all sectors joined a national demonstration in Zagreb on 20 October in protest against changes to the pensions system, including an increase in pension age to 67. Unions are calling for a pension age of 65 and to retain rules on early retirement including the possibility of retiring at 60 with 41 years of contributions. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Oct. 26, 2018 On 17 October, around 20000 trade union members from both private and public sectors marched through Kyiv city centre and blocked the government quarter. The main demands of the demonstration were for investment in industry for decent jobs, raise the minimum wage to help stop emigration, not to increase utilities prices, for the state budget to allocate the equivalent of 7% of GDP to education and 5% to healthcare, to urgently pay outstanding wages to more than 100,000 workers and to stop state’s takeover of trade union property and respect trade union rights.
Oct. 26, 2018 The ETUC has produced a new leaflet on the rights of the 22 million workers in the EU (10% of the total) who are self-employed and have no employees. The ETUC points out that they often have fewer rights than employees. For instance, in some countries they have no right to join a trade union and to benefit from union protection and support. This brochure looks at why self-employed workers need better rights, what unions are doing about this and what the priorities are for the future?
Oct. 26, 2018 At a meeting on 22 October the health workers' union confirmed its opposition to the government's pensions reforms and said it would fight to restore the right to early retirement for health workers. The reforms, including raising the pension age to 65, have met with widespread opposition across the trade union movement not just over the measures themselves but also the way the government introduced them with little or no consultation. The law takes effect from 1 January 2019 and the health workers' union is considering legal action to challenge the changes to early retirement rights.
Oct. 26, 2018 The Health and Social Welfare Union is the latest public sector union to commit to joining the national strike on 4 December and it has called on other unions in the health sector to support the action. The unions are waiting for a commitment from the government to negotiate over the public sector pay structure and measures to address cuts in pay. The unions want to see implementation of an agreement earlier this year to reverse an 8% cut in pay grades and some specific measures covering education workers. In particular, the unions want to maintain the public sector-wide pay structure.