Feb. 28, 2019 Public service unions report very high levels of support for the national strike action on 14-15 February. All sectors of the public services were affected and this gives strength to the unions' claims to end the 10-year pay freeze and to address a wide range of other issues including career progression. Meanwhile, in relation to a separate action the SEP nurses' union has condemned the government for using its power of civil requisition to end a strike. The union argues that this is an excessive measure that undermines the right of healthworkers to take action and will, in any case, do nothing to resolve the dispute. Information on the right to strike in Portugal is now available in the new EPSU-ETUI series of country factsheets.
Feb. 27, 2019 The federal collective bargaining committee, including public services union vpod, is calling on the government to include in the 2020 budget funding for a pay rise to fully compensate for inflation. It also wants a minimum increase CH 200 (EUR 175) per month to the benefit of lower paid workers. The positive fiscal situation means that the government is also committed to a pay rise in 2019 to cover inflation. The unions also want concrete measures on work-life balance for those with caring responsibilities.
Feb. 15, 2019 Public service unions are continuing their campaign for a pay rise for public service workers. Eight unions have come together and are urging people to sign their petition. They have also written a joint letter to the prime minister, Édouard Philippe, calling not just for an end to the public sector pay freeze but also for a stop on job cuts and recognition of the important role public service workers play in delivering public services. Some of the unions have also been mobilising in February with days of action and strikes.
Feb. 14, 2019 National strike action across the public sector took place on 14-15 February as unions pushed the government to end its austerity measures that have taken a toll on public service workers. Unions in the FESAP federation took action over the two days while the Frente Comum group of unions joined on 15th. The unions have some common demands, particularly the urgent need to end the pay freeze and provide a pay increase for all public service workers. Other demands covered career progression, training and action to tackle precarious employment. EPSU sent solidarity messages.
Feb. 14, 2019 The three main confederations - CGIL, CISL and UIL - organised a joint demonstration on 9 February to protest over government policies. They set out a broad range of demands including the creation of quality jobs, increased public and private investment, fair and equitable tax policies, a revaluation of pensions, measures to improve the provision of welfare, health, education and other public services and renewal of collective agreements in the public sector. EPSU sent a message of support.
Feb. 14, 2019 Workers at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, employed by the Aramark and Engie outsourcers, went on strike on 14 February in protest at low pay. Many of the cleaners, caterers, security and portering staff are on the official minimum wage (GBP 7.83 (EUR 8.90) for those aged 25 and over) but are demanding the unofficial living wage (GBP 10.55 an hour, EUR 12.00). Meanwhile, workers at the Historic Royal Palaces, including the Tower of London, took strike action on 6 February in protest at planned cuts to their pension scheme. The workers, members of the PCS and GMB trade unions, are planning further action on 16 and 21 February.
Jan. 30, 2019 Central and local government workers have joined teachers and health workers in strike action against government plans to reform the public sector pay system. New legislation is set to establish a more unified and consistent pay structure across the public services but most groups of workers are unhappy about the proposals. Health workers were among the first to take action at the end of last year.
Jan. 30, 2019 The pay freeze and job cuts in the public sector have prompted action by some unions in February with the CGT taking strike action on the 5th and FO organising a week of action 3-10 February with a national demonstration on the 7th. Their principal demands focus on unfreezing pay, stopping the job cuts but there are also broader demands about the minimum wage and a fairer tax system. Fairness is also one of the factors behind the unions' joint call for strike action across the energy, water and waste company Veolia which employs 50000 workers in France. The CFDT, CFC, CFT and FO are calling for a general pay increase and higher minimum wages at the group's subsidiaries across the country and criticise the company for failing to protect employees' purchasing power and distributing company shares in a way that disproportionately benefits senior management.
Jan. 29, 2019 The latest official public sector employment data, analysed by the FSC-CCOO public services federation, reveal a persistent problem of temporary employment. Despite an agreement to reduce temporary contracts to 8% of total employment by 2020, the latest figures show temporary work at 26.3% across the public sector (29.9% for women and 21.8% for women). There is good news in terms of an overall increase in public sector employment although the number of jobs is still around 95000 short of replacing the 400000 jobs cut as a result of the austerity measures. While there has been some increase in employment of the under-30s they still make up only 7% of the public sector workforce compared to the over-50s who account for just over 43%.
Jan. 29, 2019 The Frente Comum and FESAP federations of public service unions are planning national strike action on 15 February with FESAP unions also mobilising on the 14th. The unions have a broad range of demands on the government leading with the priority of ending the long-running pay freeze and tackling low pay. They also want government commitments on pensions, career progression and an end to precarious employment. The unions further underline the need to invest in quality public services rather than undermine them through privatisation.
Jan. 17, 2019 Following a meeting of the general negotiating group covering public administrations, the FSC-CCOO public services union criticised the government for failing to ensure consultation with the trade unions over the working conditions of three million public sector unions before publishing the budget. The union also called for action on the 35-hour week, an end to replacement rates in staff recruitment, a guarantee on the pay increase linked to economic growth, action on the gender pay gap and an extension of paternity leave across the public administration.
Jan. 17, 2019 ADEDY, the public sector confederation, has announced a 24-hour strike across the public sector on 17 January in support of actions taken by teachers. Teachers have already had two days of strikes in protest at government reforms to the appointment system that would discriminate against those with long service. The unions also want to see the creation of new permanent posts.
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.
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. 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.