2016 September epsucob@NEWS 12
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) Public services union Unison has launched a legal challenge against the Haringey local authority in north London and the Sevacare company which had been contracted to provide homecare services. The action is on behalf of 17 homecare workers and pay rates that fall below the minimum wage. The company failed to pay for the time workers spent travelling between people's houses, leaving them effectively on hourly rates of pay less than half the minimum wage.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) Services union ver.di organised warning strikes and a national protest in Berlin against Germany's largest rehabilitation company, Reha. The company gave notice in August that it was ending the current collective agreement and wanted to move to enterprise-level agreements. The union has attacked the company for being a major recipient of public money while denying rights to its workforce. Ver.di is calling for a new agreement and an 8% pay increase covering the 2700 workers institutions in the Eastern region of the company.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) The European Court of Justice has issed an important ruling against the use of repeated temporary contracts where it is evident that there is a need for permanent employment. The case involved a nurse at the University Hospital of Madrid whose fixed-term contract was renewed seven times between 2009 and 2013. In response to the case public sector trade union federations in Spain are calling for immediate negotiations with the government to tackle the widespread problem of precarious work.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) Public services trade union FOA has signed an agreement with the PUK private care company. The company recently joined the KA employers' organisation and the FOA is pleased that the agreement now ensure that PUK employees are covered by the pay and conditions negotiated for the sector, helping to prevent competition on wages. Meanwhile, the union is continuing its campaign against the DK Pleje company which has so far refused to negotiate and is undercutting other care providers.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) Over 200 people joined a picket of the Ministry of Labour on 20 September as part of a campaign by the Sanitas health union to ensure that all categories of workers in the sector are covered by the main pay statutes. Some workers including nursery staff and those working in social assistance are currently excluded from the pay provisions covering the sector. The union is organising further pickets of ministries and the parliament and plans a two-hour strike on 19 October and a full day of action on 31 October.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) Despite the long-running trade union campaign against the labour code and the temporary block put on it by the President, the parliament passed the legislation on 14 September with the government claiming that more flexible labour market rules are needed to boost employment. The code will reduce holiday entitlement, allow more flexility in fixed-term contracts, make it easier to dismiss workers and relaxes limites on overtime and working time.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) The FNV trade union has set out is main bargaining aims for 2017. It has set a general target of a 2.5% pay increase but indicated that some sectors may be able to achieve higher increases. The FNV wants to see action to tackle excessive workloads and increasing flexibility, particularly in relation to on-call/zero hours contracts. In addition, it calls for the creation of 8000 jobs for young people linked to arrangements that reduce working time for older workers following the model of agreements negotiated in the municipal sector.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) The SIPTU trade union has called on the government to include decent pay for workers as part of its proposed childcare plan. The union says that pay for childcare assistants averages EUR 10.27 an hour when the living wage is around EUR 11.50. SIPTU argues that the childcare plan must commit to increased government funding to ensure not only better pay for childcare workers but also affordable services for parents.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) The NSF nurses' union has said it supports the strike action by doctors and psychologists who are in dispute with the Spekter employers' organisation over work plans and rotas. The strike action, coordinated by the Akademikerne federation, began on 7 September and has been stepped up four times since then. Trade unions are concerned that the move by employers is not only a threat to workers' health and safety as well as the quality of service to patients but also reflects a broader attempt to individualise workplace relations.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) Municipal union Kommunal has been successful in its campaign to secure a higher pay increase for the 40000 personal assistants working for private companies. As reported in the last issue, Kommunal rejected the 0.8% pay offer from the Almega employers' organisation, arguing that the pay increase should match the 2.2% agreed in the public sector. The higher increase was agreed after mediation.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) Trade unions have negotiated a minimum service provision in the case of strike action by forestry workers. This is an important step to maintain the current rights of this group of workers that is facing militarisation and the loss of the right to strike through transfer to the carabineri police service. Trade unions are continuing to fight this transfer both through union campaigning and legal action.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) Despite the national reform to revert to the 35-hour week across the public sector, trade unions are still having to fight to ensure all workers see their hours reduced from 40 a week. The STAL local government union organised a demonstration outside the Braga town hall on 19 September in protest at the mayor's decision to maintain the 40-hour week for workers employed by private contractors. The union plans further action if the local authority fails to implement the cut in hours. Meanwhile the SEP nurses' union is continuing its local actions around the country to secure the 35-hour week and other improvements in working conditions.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) Public services union Unison organised a lobby of Parliament on 14 September, highlighting the situation of school support staff in Derby in central England who have seen their pay cut by 25%. The workers have already taken strike action and Unison is commiting national support to the workers who face a cut in annual salary from £21,000 (EUR 24500) to around £15,000 (EUR17500).
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) The FNME-CGT energy trade union is planning a day of action on 21 September by workers at the RTE electricity network. The union is very concerned about the impact of a sell-off on prices and services to users as well as the implications for the pay and conditions of workers in the sector.
Sep. 22, 2016 (September 2016) 29 September will see a national demonstration supported by the three main trade unoin confederations as part of their continuing campaign against the austerity measures imposed by the government. The confederations have jointly decided to cancel the planned general strike on 7 October until they have time to react to the delayed government budget in response to which further action may be called. Demonstrations at local and sectoral level are still likely to take place on that date.