2019 October EPSU Collective Bargaining News 20
IN THIS ISSUE
- Bulgaria: Health workers win promise of increased funding
- Netherlands: Unions plan first ever national hospital strike
- France: Firefighters and health workers mobilise
- Belgium: Health unions take action over collective agreement
- Italy: Unions welcome three-year deal in electricity sector
- UK: Victory for outsourced workers as fight in hospitals continues
- Germany: Major survey reveals working time preferences
- Sweden: Municipal union decides not to follow wage coordination
- Spain: Unions to mobilise over care workers' pay
- Czech Republic: Union continues to push for more staff in social services
- Switzerland: Care workers needed more protection on pay and hours
- Finland: Union sets out bargaining priorities
- Austria: Unions mark equal pay day
- Ireland: Union to step up childcare campaign
- Europe: Collective bargaining news from across Europe
Oct. 22, 2019 The three unions in the electricity sector - Filctem-Cgil, Flaei-Cisl and Uiltec-Uil - have signed a new three-year agreement covering 50000 employees. Workers will see a EUR 104 increase in pay, paid in three instalments, topped up with EUR 15 as a productivity bonus and EUR 5 related to welfare benefits. There will also be a EUR 100 lump sum paid this year. The agreement includes initiatives to improve health and safety, to ensure contractors are covered by the agreement along with several other measures benefiting working parents and women workers.
Oct. 22, 2019 Public service union ver.di has undertaken a major survey covering over 210000 workers in the public sector and just under 18000 in private and non-profit health and social care. The survey found that 92% of workers thought it important to have a choice between more pay and fewer hours and 57% would actually swap a pay increase for an hours cut. Overall of those wanting shorter hours, 45% wanted to work fewer days while 30% wanted a working time account to allow for more holidays or the option to retire earlier. The union will consult further in the lead up to next year's public sector negotiations.
Oct. 22, 2019 Unions representing hospital workers, including FNV and NU'91, are planning the first ever national hospital strike on 20 November when non-urgent facilities will be closed. The unions are trying to put pressure on the employers to improve their latest offer in negotiations over a collective agreement covering 200000 workers. The unions want a 5% pay rise for this year plus extra payments for workers who have to work additional hours at short notice. The employers want a longer-term deal, offering the equivalent of a 2.8% increase a year but also want to reduce health insurance and sickness benefits.
Oct. 22, 2019 The SIPTU general union is planning to step up its childcare campaign after the government failed to boost funding in its latest budget. The union highlights low pay and high costs in the sector. Average pay for the 25000 mainly women childcare workers is only EUR 11.18 compared to the living wage of EUR 12.30. SIPTU says the government's failure to invest in the sector means that around one in four workers are leaving each year, raising serious issues of sustainability.
Oct. 24, 2019 Around 5000 health workers joined a national demonstration in Sofia on 7 October to call for higher pay and more training to help prevent the loss of more staff from the sector. Following the protest a delegation met the health minister who committed an extra BGN 200m (EUR 102m) to the 2020 budget, three quarters of which would go to fund salary increases. The CITUB confederation said that this would help ensure salaries met a target of BGN 900-950 (EUR 460-485) for nurses and BGN 1100-1200 (EUR 560-615) for doctors.
Oct. 24, 2019 The JHL public services union says that it will aim to negotiate pay increases for lower paid workers that are higher than those in industry as a step towards reducing the pay gap between the sectors. It says this is essential to tackle low pay in sectors dominated by women. It also wants the 24 hours of extra unpaid work introduced in the Competitiveness Pact to be paid or cut while measures on carers' and paternity leave will also feature in the next bargaining round. The union carried out a survey of 8000 members to help it plan its priorities and gauge support for industrial action.
Oct. 24, 2019 Trade unions representing firefighters and health and social care workers mobilised across the country on 15 October as part of their continuing campaigns to defend jobs and services. The joint protests called for an end to privatisation, more funding for services and increased pay as proper recognition of the hardship and risks involved in these vital areas of public service. Further action is planned for 14 November.
Oct. 24, 2019 The public services union UNISON has secured a major victory for around 900 outsourced security and cleaning workers at University College, London. The workers will soon see their holiday entitlement aligned with that of directly employed workers while pay, overtime, sickness and pension benefits will be brought into line by the autumn of 2021. Meanwhile the union is continuing its campaign to get better pay for outsourced workers employed by the Compass multinational at two hospitals in North West England. The minimum hourly rate for these workers is only GBP 8.21 (EUR 9.50 - the national minimum wage) while the minimum for directly employed staff is GBP 9.03 (EUR 10.50).
Oct. 24, 2019 Health and social care unions from all three trade union confederations took strike action on 24 October to put pressure on the employers to resolve issues in the non-profit sector negotiations. Trade unions are particularly concerned to resolve problems around stability and predictability of working hours and contracts, right to annual leave, action to tackle burn-out and training. The unions say that most private hospitals were affected with action also taking place in the social care sector.
Oct. 24, 2019 The OSZSP health and social care union met with ministry of health officials earlier this month to discuss staffing levels in the social care sector. The union has been pushing hard for the government to introduce safe and effective staffing levels. It underlines the need for this to be done on the basis of real assessment of needs and not on the basis of current staffing levels as many institutions are understaffed and staff overworked. The union also wants increased funding for providers which it sees as necessary to increase staff and tackle low pay in the sector where the average wage is CZK 5000 (EUR 195) lower than the national average across the whole economy.
Oct. 24, 2019 The vpod public service workers has called on the federal government to deliver nationwide, binding rules on pay and working time for home care workers. It argues that non-binding, cantonal (regional) agreements are not effective enough, particularly on key issues of working and rest time. Vpod also says that the proposed hourly minimum wage of CHF 19.20 (EUR 17.40) doesn't guarantee a decent income and that a monthly minimum of CHF 4000 (EUR 3630) with a 13th month is necessary.
Oct. 24, 2019 The latest issue of the ETUI's collective bargaining newsletter covers as usual all EU Member States and more with over 65 articles including news from Croatia where the government has backed down from increasing the retirement age from 65 to 67 after a union campaign. There are also news items covering strikes in Greece and Hungary, action by youth workers in the Netherlands and an initiative on lifelong learning to support energy workers in Estonia.
Oct. 24, 2019 21 October is marked as equal pay day in Austria where the gender pay gap is one of the biggest in Europe at 19.7%. This is based on a full-time woman worker getting an average of EUR 41785 compared to EUR 52033 for a man. This is the equivalent of women working for free for 72 days - hence setting the date as 21 October. Unions highlight the problems of part-time work and unpaid care as contributing to the problem. While 47% of women work part time only 11% of men do.
Oct. 24, 2019 The Kommunal municipal workers' union has decided not to follow the wage coordination policy agreed by the LO trade union confederation. The union says that urgent action is needed to tackle staff shortages in childcare, health and other welfare services and that if it followed the LO target then workers in those sectors would only get an extra SEK 17 (EUR1.60). For Kommunal it is also important to address low pay in sectors dominated by women and the LO guideline would reduce the gender pay gap by only 0.1%.
Oct. 24, 2019 The trade unions representing care workers - FeSP-UGT and CCOO-Sanidad - are planning two days of mobilisation on 30 October and 7 November to put pressure on the two employer organisations (CEOE and CEPYME) to negotiate on pay. The union federations are angry that the employers have failed to negotiate the introduction of a EUR 1000 minimum wage (14 payments) for the sector even though it had been proposed in the last collective agreement. The unions put forward a proposal for reaching the level in stages up to 2021 but the employers failed to respond.