2019 May epsucob@NEWS 09
IN THIS ISSUE
- Europe: Landmark European works council agreement for EPSU in social care
- Italy: Private health care workers call for sector-wide agreement
- Czech Republic: Health union raises concerns over basic pay and supplements
- Norway: Pay rises of 3%+ across local government
- Poland: School strike suspended
- Europe: ITUC calls for withdrawal of draft trade union law
- Europe: Journal highlights restrictions on public service workers' rights
- France: Hospital workers strike over pay, jobs and services
- UK: Union analysis reveals low pay and hours in private care
- Europe: EPSU plans training on digitalisation and collective bargaining
- Romania: Health sector negotiations continue
- Netherlands: Unions set deadline for municipal employers
- Germany: Union continues its campaign on staffing levels
- Europe: Report outlines legal and bargaining approaches to rest breaks at work
Apr. 30, 2019 The OSZSP health union met the prime minister and health minister on 17 April to raise serious concerns about pay in the sector. The union says that many workers are not being paid special allowances worth CZK 2000-5000 (EUR 80-200). Instead some are getting only CZK 1000-1200 (EUR 40-50) and others nothing at all. The prime minister expressed surprise and asked for details of the hospitals that are failing to pay the correct amounts. The OSZSP also wants action to ensure consistent payment of basic salaries across the sector and raised the continuing problem of low pay in social services. The union reminded the government of the high level of dissatisfaction with pay and the serious staff shortages that are undermining service provision in some areas.
Apr. 30, 2019 Five workers from the private health sector spoke at the rally on 15 April calling for a new agreement for the sector, 12 years after the last one was signed. The five workers - including nurses, a hospital manager and disability care worker - spoke about the challenges of surviving on pay levels unchanged for more than a decade and in the case of one for 17 years. Along with this they often face increasing work pressures as a result of staff shortages and even have to pay for their own training. In one hospital a nurse starts on only EUR 1350 a month and an experienced nurse gets only EUR 1520. The workers are calling for parity with the public sector and, ideally, a collective agreement that covers the whole sector, both public and private.
Apr. 30, 2019 Trade unions in local government have given the VNG employers' organisation until 10am on 1 May to respond to their main demands or face action across the sector which employers 160000 workers. After six rounds of bargaining, trade unions broke off negotiations as the VNG failed to come up with any offer close to the unions' demands which include a real pay increase and measures to address workers' health and wellbeing, especially older workers.
Apr. 30, 2019 An analysis by the GMB trade union reveals that care workers in the private sector are three times more likely to be on a zero hours contract than those in the public sector. It also finds that employees of private care companies are paid 17% less on average than their public sector counterparts and four in ten leave their job every year. Over 50% per cent of private carers have no relevant social care qualifications, compared with less than 20% in the public sector. The union highlights the underlying problem of underfunding of the sector, an issue which it says is becoming more acute as evidenced by the possible collapse of one of the country's biggest care providers, Four Seasons, which employs 20000 workers.
Apr. 30, 2019 Health and care union ver.di is keeping up the momentum of its campaign to secure appropriate staffing levels in health, eldercare and other services. It is again organising a demonstration to coincide with the annual meeting of regional health ministers in Leipzig on 5 June. The union acknowledges that some progress has been made in terms of pay and funding for extra jobs but proposed minimum staffing levels don't ensure adequate levels of care. The union still wants to see federal standards for staffing that would deliver good quality care and it also wants to ensure that rehabilitation and psychiatric services are included.
May. 01, 2019 The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has written to the President of Kyrgyzstan calling on him to withdraw the draft law on trade unions. The ITUC says that the bill conflicts with the fundamental International Labour Organisation Conventions 87 and 98 on the rights to freedom of association, to organise and collective bargaining. According to the ITUC the draft legislation also contravenes ILO Convention 144 on tripartite consultation as wells as parts of the Kyrgyz constitution. If passed, the law will undermine trade union independence and the freedom of trade unions to set their own rules and internal procedures.
May. 01, 2019 The latest issue of the Journal of International Trade Union Rights features a number of articles examining the extent to which public service workers find their rights restricted in relation to organising, collective bargaining or the right to take collective action. Nadja Salson of EPSU contributed an article highlighting two developments. First, is EPSU's legal action against the European Commission over its failure to put forward the information and consultation agreement in central government to the European Council for transposition into a directive and the second is the loophole in the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive that allows Member States to exclude public service workers from its provisions. The journal also includes an article based on the right to strike factsheets covering 34 countries and produced for EPSU by the European Trade Union Institute.
May. 01, 2019 After three weeks the national strike by school staff has been suspended but the ZNP teachers' union is determined to maintain its campaign for more funding for education and better pay for teachers and other school workers. The union says that the first stage of the strike was a success in putting education at the centre of the national debate and highlighting the low levels of pay across the sector. While the union has secured a 10% pay increase it remains committed to higher pay as well as aiming for major reforms of the education system and getting a commitment to increased funding.
May. 01, 2019 On 29 April EPSU signed a landmark agreement with the French-based Korian social care multinational to set up a European works council (EWC). The agreement comes two years after EPSU took the initiative to bring together affiliates that organise in the company to form a network with a view to establishing an EWC. EPSU believes this is an important step in improving information and consultation in the company and sets the standard for other multinationals in the fast-growing social care sector.
May. 01, 2019 EPSU is running a series of training seminars this year and next to provide support for affiliates who are facing up to the challenges of digitalisation. The five regional seminars will be open to all EPSU affiliates with a focus on participants who are involved in collective bargaining. The first seminar will take place in Bucharest on 24-25 September, followed by one in Lisbon on 19-20 November. Further details (in 19 languages) of the training project which is receiving financial support from the European Commission can be found on the EPSU website. The invitations to the first seminar will be sent out in June.
May. 02, 2019 Local government unions are generally pleased about the outcome of negotiations over pay which will see most workers benefit from pay increases of 3%-3.5%.Unions have been keen this year to ensure that competences and education are properly rewarded in a context where there is recruitment pressure for skilled workers. Basic pay will rise, for example, by NOK 14000 a year (EUR 1440) to NOK 41000 (EUR 42200) for workers with a three-year college education while those with one-year vocational training will see basic pay rise by NOK 13000 (EUR 1340) to NOK 372800 (EUR 38380). The unions say that pay developments are line with other sectors. Meanwhile unions in the state sector have ended negotiations as employers have refused to ensure that pension arrangements will be as good as those in local government. Mediation will take place later in the month.
May. 02, 2019 The Sanitas health trade union is continuing negotiations with the government and ministry of health over a range of issues including ensuring full funding is available to cover pay increases for 2019. Other key points relate to extra leave for healthcare workers and ensuring all in the sector benefit from pay increases. The union is also concerned that certain specific categories of higher qualified occupations such as pharmacists and psychologists are on the appropriate levels of the pay structure. Sanitas is positive about making progress.
May. 02, 2019 Eight trade unions in the AP-HP group of hospitals in Paris - CGT, SUD, FO, CFDT, CFTC, CFE-CGC, UNSA and SMPS - organised joint strike action on 18-20 April demanding proper negotiations with hospital management over a number of issues. The unions are calling for an end to cuts to jobs and services which saw 405 full-time equivalent (FTE) posts cut last year with a further 779 FTE to go this year. The unions say that management are targeting staff costs as the main way to reduce their deficits and workers are facing a pay freeze until 2023.
May. 02, 2019 The Eurofound research agency has published a new report that looks at the rules on rest breaks at work across Europe. These cover both legislation and the kinds of rules included in collective agreements. The report finds considerable variety with different approaches to whether breaks are paid or unpaid and whether or not they are included in working time. The overview includes information on rules for specific categories of workers such as pregnant women, young workers and those employed in arduous occupations. While not a major area of legal dispute, the report highlights some recent court cases which tend to focus on the question of pay. There is a section on the health implications of having or not having proper breaks as well as the impact on performance and productivity.