2019 January epsucob@NEWS 01
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Portugal: Firefighters strike to defend pay and conditions
- Ireland: Massive vote for action by nurses and midwives
- Germany: Orpea workers continue their campaign for a collective agreement
- Italy: Confederations commit to mobilise against government budget plan
- Hungary: Unions continue campaign against "slave law"
- Kosovo: Health workers strike for better pay
- Spain: Pay deal implemented but unions still have key bargaining demands
- Austria: Childcare workers get 3% pay increase
- Norway: Court rejects care company's bid to use European law against workers
- UK: Survey reveals widespread dissatisfaction with civil service pay
- Denmark: Union criticises government for inaction over staff shortages
- Europe: Central government now covered by anti-violence guidelines
- Germany: Union launches 6% pay claim for regional government workers
- Italy: Health and utilities workers in action
Jan. 03, 2019 Firefighters, members of the STAL and STML trade unions, took strike action from 18 December to 2 January in protest at government plans to change the statutes covering their pay, retirement and other conditions. The unions not only reject the proposed changes but are angry that the government aimed to implement them without any consultation or negotiation with the unions. The unions have made a series of demands related to protecting basic pay and ensuring appropriate payments for on-call and overtime work as well as allowances for dangerous and arduous conditions. They are also seeking improvements in career progression, support for firefighters injured at work and better training,
Jan. 03, 2019 Members of the INMO nurses' and midwives' union have voted 95% in favour of strike action over pay and staffing shortages. The union leadership was due to meet on 7-8 January to consider plans for a 24-hour strike. If it goes ahead it will be only the second strike in the union's 100-year history. INMO argues that urgent action is needed to tackle the major staffing shortages across the country with low pay one of the key issues. According to the union's figures, nurses and midwives are paid around EUR 5000-7000 a year less than other, comparable health professionals.
Jan. 03, 2019 Employees of the Celenus health company, part of the Orpea multinational, continued their campaign for a collective agreement when they travelled to a protest in Berlin on 11 December where they joined other striking workers from the Charité physiotherapy clinic. The workers at Celenus's rehabilitation clinic in Bad Langensalza in the Thüringen region are involved in long-running strike action in an attempt to secure a collective agreement and better pay. The company has repeatedly refused to negotiate with the ver.di trade union. Action last year was supported by EPSU and its affiliates that organise in Orpea across Europe.
Jan. 03, 2019 A statute published last month confirms the pay increases that will be implemented this year for all public sector workers as part of a three-year package that was negotiated with unions last year. Along with a basic increase of 2.25% this January, there will be an additional 0.25% (0.3% if there is a budget surplus in 2018) and a further 0.25% in July if economic growth is 2.5% or more. Unions will be looking for progress on other key demands when they meet the government later this month. In particular, they want to see an increase in public sector employment and an end to restrictions on recruitment. They are also calling for negotiations, without conditions, on working time, early retirement and the restoration of other rights lost or worsened by austerity measures.
Jan. 03, 2019 Around 10000 childcare workers in private institutions will see their pay increase by at least 3% this month as new regulations introduced by the labour ministry are implemented. Those on lower pay rates will get a 3.3% increase with a minimum of EUR 50. The pay rises are welcomed by the vida and GPA-djp trade unions that see these as a significant improvement for the women-dominated sector and as a contribution to tackle pay inequality. There will also be new rules to allow appropriate experience in similar work, including time worked in other countries, to be taken into account in career development.
Jan. 03, 2019 The three main trade union confederations - CGIL, CSIL and UIL - are united in rejecting the government budget which they regard as wrong and short-sighted, failing to provide resources for growth, development and investment. The confederations are committed to mobilise against the plans with a national demonstration planned for later this month. They point out that the budget fails to provide the necessary investment in social infrastructure, particularly in health and education, and with inadequate provisions to cover the renewal of collective agreements for public sector workers and a continuing block on public sector recruitment.
Jan. 03, 2019 The Oslo District Court has rejected the attempt by the Aleris multinational care company to use European law to prevent workers claiming their rightful status as employees. Thirty-seven workers, supported by the Fagforbundet trade union, have launched legal proceedings against the company which has denied them employment rights by classifying them as consultants rather than employees (see epsucob@NEWS 16 and 17, 2018). The trade union accuses the company of trying to intimidate individual workers and employing teams of highly-paid lawyers to try to block their claims in the court. A case involving 24 of the 37 workers will be heard in the Oslo District Court on 14 January.
Jan. 03, 2019 Sixteen trade unions are working together in a campaign against the "slave law" that will see major changes to rules on working time, with overtime limits increased from 250 hours to 400 hours a year. A national demonstration was organised on 8 December and EPSU sent a message of support. A further national protest is planned for 5 January, with support also coming from civil society organisations. The unions have a range of demands including withdrawal of the overtime proposals, a pay rise for public sector workers, changes to the strike law and improvements to pensions.
Jan. 03, 2019 The FOA public services union has criticised the government for failing to come up with any concrete and urgent measures to tackle the shortage of health and social care staff particularly in eldercare. The government announced a major mapping exercise in July last year that was aimed at identifying the challenges facing municipalities. The resulting report adds little to the facts and figures that the unions have produced over the years to warn of the scale of staff shortages. The FOA also argues that the promised DKK 150 million (EUR 20 million) to help boost recruitment is inadequate, being spread over four years and covering 98 municipalities.
Jan. 03, 2019 Public services union ver.di has set out its main demands for the forthcoming bargaining round covering 2.3 million workers in regional government which begins on 21 January. The union is calling for a 6% pay increase with a minimum guaranteed increase of EUR 200 as part of a 12-month agreement. Ver.di also wants to see a EUR 100 increase for trainees and a commitment to provide jobs for those who successfully complete their courses. The union argues that economic growth and the financial position of regional governments means that the increase is affordable and it will also contribute to maintaining demand in the economy. The agreement is an important one with a knock-on effect on some 3.3 million workers whose pay and conditions are linked to the deal.
Jan. 03, 2019 The PCS civil service union has highlighted the results of a survey that reveals low levels of satisfaction with pay across many government departments. In some parts of the Ministry of Justice, for example, only 12%-14% of workers were satisfied with their pay and only 21% in HMRC, the third largest government department, that deals with taxation. Dissatisfaction was even greater when workers were asked to compare their jobs with similar jobs elsewhere, reflecting the fact that the 1% pay cap remains in the civil service but has been lifted in other parts of the public sector. The PCS will be stepping up its pay campaign this year with plans for a mass consultation, targetting of ministers and department heads and the possibility of a ballot for industrial action.
Jan. 04, 2019 The healthworkers' union organised a two-day strike on 27-28 December, calling for better pay. With doctors on around EUR 600 a month, the union underlined the need for decent pay to stop workers leaving the service to find better paid jobs in other sectors with less stress. Emergency services were maintained during the action which the health union said it would repeat if the government failed to respond.
Jan. 04, 2019 Trade unions representing workers in the electricity, gas and water sectors organised a day of strike action on 17 December. The unions are concerned that changes to procurement rules will lead to more outsourcing and so threaten jobs, pay and conditions and the quality of services. Meanwhile, unions organising in the private health sector began a series of regional actions with a strike in Lazio on 14 December as part of a campaign to secure a new sector agreement covering 150000 workers. It is 12 years since the last agreement was negotiated.
Jan. 04, 2019 On 17 December the European trade unions and employers in central government administrations signed guidelines on tackling violence and harassment. This extends coverage to 8.9 million public employees and civil servants in addition to the millions of workers who are already covered by the guidelines adopted in 2010 in local and regional government, hospitals, education, commerce, and private security. While not legally binding, the guidelines provide basic yet fundamental guidance on how to put in place a policy and a procedure to prevent and deal with harassment and violent acts, in close consultation of workers and their trade union representatives.