2018 November epsucob@NEWS 22
IN THIS ISSUE
- Germany: Union organises national action day on eldercare
- Austria: Unions secure real pay rise for public sector
- Spain: Strong support for prison sector strike action
- Netherlands: Ambulance union rejects agreement and continues protest action
- Italy: Doctors and health managers take strike action
- Finland: Government changes draft dismissal law after union action
- Ireland: Union launches working time debate
- Slovenia: and private sector unions to protest over pay and collective agreements
- UK: Scottish local government workers reject pay offer
- Norway: Government steps in to end nurses' lockout and strike
- Switzerland: Federal government pay offer inadequate
- Sweden: Union warns of major staffing shortages in care sector
- Global: Call for convention to tackle violence against women
Nov. 22, 2018 The ver.di health and social care union organised a national action day in the eldercare sector on 21 November. Along with local events across the country, the union coordinated a national photo action involving thousands of care workers. The aim of the day was to highlight the need for better pay and working conditions and more staff to tackle the increasing demands on the sector. Ver.di points out that staff face excessive overtime, extra shifts at short notice and long hours without breaks. The federal government is committed to creating 13000 new jobs in the sector but ver.di argues that this won't be enough and effectively means just one job per institution.
Nov. 22, 2018 After three rounds of negotiations, public sector unions have secured a minimum pay rise of 2.51% rising to 3.45% for lower paid workers. The increase will be implemented on 1 January 2019 and will include a 2.76% increase on other payments and allowances. The increases are ahead of the 2.02% inflation rate that formed the basis of the negotiations The younion public service union says that workers with a gross monthly salary of EUR 2000 will see pay rise by around 3.3% while those on EUR 3000 will get a 3.0% increase. The unions now want to see all regions implement the pay rise in full.
Nov. 22, 2018 Prison sector unions have called on the government to immediately restart negotiations over pay following the latest of six days of strike action which have had strong nationwide support from prison workers. The unions began the action following the new socialist-led government's withdrawal of funding for a pay increase. The unions now want to see bargaining restart and have been critical of the authorities for aggressive tactics in the policing of pickets and demonstrations around the country.
Nov. 22, 2018 The FNV trade union is refusing to sign a new collective agreement covering the ambulance sector arguing that it fails to deliver on pay and jobs. Indeed, the union says that pay rates in the agreement are below those paid by agencies and so the agreement will do nothing to stem the flow of workers out of direct employment in the sector. The FNV organised a petition signed by over 2000 ambulance staff calling for better pay and action on jobs and hours but the head of the ambulance service didn't event meet FNV members to accept the petition. A two-hour work stoppage was organised in the Rotterdam region on 21 November while work-to-rule actions continue across the country.
Nov. 22, 2018 Health federations from the CGIL, CISL and UIL confederations organising doctors, hospital managers and vets joined the call for 24-hour strike action on 23 November. The unions are angry that the collective agreement for this group of workers remains unchanged after 10 years and is the last of the public sector agreements to be renewed. They are also calling for urgent action to deal with low pay, lack of resources and understaffing. The pressure on staff is set to increase with the average age of workers at 53 and an estimated 10000 doctors and managers set to retire over the next two years.
Nov. 23, 2018 Industrial action across the public and private sectors forced the government to revise its proposal to make it easier to dismiss workers in small companies. Unions were angry not just about the change but also about the fact that the government hadn't consulted unions and employers over the proposal. Following the union action there were tripartite discussions and the draft law now has no minimum threshold for dismissal rights. While most unions accept the specific change, the TEHY health union is still concerned about the overall balance of the bill and the impact on sectors dominated by women.
Nov. 23, 2018 Following a surge in interest among local branches, the Forsa public services union has launched a debate about working time reduction with an international conference in Dublin on 22 November. The union underlines the potential of digitalisation to increase productivity and create the potential for a shorter working week. The conference included contributions from the UK where the Trade Union Confederation has called for a four-day week and from Germany where the IG Metall engineering union has negotiated major new agreements providing the potential for employees to reduce their working time.
Nov. 23, 2018 The ZSSS trade union confederation and Pergam public service federation have called a national demonstration in Ljubljana for 5 December with demands to protect and respect collective agreements, for higher pay and an increase in the minimum wage. In the meantime, negotiations continue over pay in the public sector. Three public sector unions look to have settled with the government but as many as 20 other unions are still considering the latest offer. If negotiations break down then the unions are expected to take strike action on 5 December.
Nov. 23, 2018 Members of the three main unions representing local government workers in Scotland - UNISON, GMB and Unite - have rejected the employers' 3% pay offer. There were large majorities in each case with also strong support for industrial action. The unions argue that 3% is inadequate after years of pay freezes and the 1% public sector pay cap. The unions will jointly discuss their next steps and the formal process of balloting for industrial action.
Nov. 23, 2018 On 20 November the government announced compulsory arbitration to end a dispute between the NSF nurses' union and the NHO private employers' organisation. The union had called a strategic strike of 55 nurses on 25 October to protest against the NHO agreement having lower minimum pay and sickness benefit rates compared to the agreement negotiated with municipal employers. NSF has found examples of nurses' annual salaries in NHO employers that are NOK 30000-100000 (EUR 3200-10000) lower than in the public sector. After three weeks of strike action the NHO imposed a lockout on all 501 NSF members in NHO organisations prompting the government to intervene on the basis that the lockout posed a threat to patients' health.
Nov. 23, 2018 Negotiations between public service unions and the federal government have yet to produce an agreement and further bargaining will take place next February. The unions are looking for an increase of 1.5% but the government offer is only 0.8%, below the forecast inflation rate of 1%. The unions argue that federal finances are sound with surpluses predicted for both 2018 and 2019 while the economy is also set to grow by 2%. On this basis they argue that federal government workers deserve a pay rise at least in line with inflation.
Nov. 23, 2018 Municipal workers' union Kommunal is calling on the government and all political parties to ensure that promised additional funding of SEK 5 billion (EUR 485 million) will be available to pay for extra staffing in the care sector. The union estimates that an additional 135000 jobs are needed in the short term. A large survey of Kommunal members found that almost one in two assistant nurses felt that the staffing problem in elderly care was so bad that it posed a risk to the elderly. There were similar concerns among childcare assistants about staffing shortages posing risks to children. The union sees this as an urgent and immediate problem but that even more investment will be needed for the longer term.
Nov. 23, 2018 EPSU has joined with the PSI, ETUC, ITUC and other labour movement organisations in calling for an International Labour Organisation Convention against gender-based violence at the workplace. The call comes on the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which takes place on 25 November every year. A draft text is under discussion and could be agreed at the ILO conference next year although the ETUC has concerns that some European governments are trying to get the text watered down.
Nov. 23, 2018 The FPU trade union federation took part in a parliamentary hearing earlier this month to highlight the urgent need to protect basic trade union rights. The trade union representatives gave evidence of the attacks on trade unions, banning of trade union leaders from workplaces and attempts to seize trade union property by the authorities. The unions set out a range of demands to the committee including a law to protect trade union property, measures to underpin the right to strike and effective enforcement of the core ILO conventions on collective bargaining and freedom of association as well as extra funding in the 2019 budget for improved public services and increased pay for public service workers.