Apr. 20, 2018 Public services union Unison has criticised NHS Trusts - the local bodies that run health services - for creating a two-tier workforce by setting up wholly-owned subsidiaries to which they transfer staff and which are then used to reduce pay and pensions and other working conditions. Not only is the union strongly opposed to this initiative - which mainly affects lower paid workers such as porters and cleaners - but it has also exposed how some NHS Trusts have spent millions on consultants to advise them on the process.
Jan. 10, 2018 The government has passed a decree that effectively ends outsourcing in central and local government. Outsourced workers in central government will be directly employed by the central government institutions while those in local authorities will be transferred to local authority-owned companies, rather than directly to the local authorities. The changes have been welcomed by trade unions although some have expressed concern about the difference in rights and pay and conditions for those in local authority companies and about the fact that the changes were implemented by decree with no consultation with the unions.
Nov. 29, 2017 The Fagforbundet public services trade union has called on municipalities to end any contracts with the Orange nursing staff agency. Local authorities in Oslo and Bergen have already terminated contracts with the company following evidence of its infringement of various regulations including health and safety law. The company also failed to maintain services to users and to comply with demands from the authorities to meet the terms of its contract. Fagforbundet says the company is also guilty of paying wages well below the sector agreement while press reports have revealed the company's tax avoidance strategy.
Nov. 29, 2017 Waste workers employed by Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in England, have won a new deal that will protect the pay of workers who were threatened with the loss of thousands of pounds in pay. The deal was negotiated by the Unite trade after a long-running dispute and industrial action. Meanwhile 3300 energy and ancillary workers organised by the GMB trade union at the Sellafield nuclear facility in North West England took a day's strike action on 29 November to secure better pay deals in two separate negotiations covering directly employed and outsourced workers. In another nuclear industry pay dispute, workers organised by the Prospect trade union at the Dounreay site in Northern Scotland will be balloted for possible action over pay.
Nov. 17, 2017 The three health federations - FP CGIL, CISL FP and UIL FPL - have said they will mobilise workers and the community to prevent the threatened outsourcing of nursing and auxiliary jobs at the Umberto I university hospital in Rome. The federations have strongly condemned the proposal that could affect 700 workers, including nurses who work in intensive care and specialist departments most of whom have been at the hospital for many years. The federations also attacked the complete failure of the hospital to consult or negotiate with the trade unions and warned that workers' pay could fall by up to 40% if the outsourcing goes ahead.
Nov. 10, 2017 The SIPTU general union is pushing the government to increase funding to ensure that around 10000 care workers get the pay restoration that has been negotiated for workers directly employed in the public sector. At the time of austerity measures the government cutback on the grant going to so-called Section 39 providers and this had a direct impact on the disability and other care workers they employed. A three-year, public sector-wide agreement has been signed which will provide pay restoration for the majority of workers over the next three years. SIPTU is determined that these Section 39 workers shouldn't be left behind.
Sep. 26, 2017 Following votes across all the public sector unions, a majority (14), accounting for 80% by membership supported the new agreement on pay and conditions with three voting against. The three-year deal includes six pay increases (two targeted at the lower paid only) and will mean that the majority of public sector workers (73%) will see an overall increase of 7% by the end of the agreement. There is a range of other conditions that have been confirmed as part of the deal including the retention of outsourcing protections, the option to negotiate on returning to a shorter working week and provisions on work-life balance.
Aug. 15, 2017 Public service workers across the UK have been involved in number of disputes over pay, jobs and safety. Waste workers in Birmingham and Doncaster are taking or planning action over pay and safety while cleaners at four hospitals in East London are continuting their campaign for a higher pay increase against outsourcing company Serco. Meanwhile in Sheffield members of the PCS civil service union are taking strike action in protest at the closure of a local Job Centre, part of a campaign against government proposals for closures across the country. Finally, janitors in schools across Glasgow have won a pay increase and regrading following a long dispute involving strike action.
Aug. 02, 2017 Striking cleaners, members of the Unite trade union, working at four London hospitals have taken their protests to the heart of the City of London. They are making their voices heard as their employer, the outsourcing company Serco, announces its latest profit figures. In one of the biggest ever strike actions by cleaners, the workers are highlighting excessive workloads and levels of pay so low that many have to take second jobs to make ends meet.
Jun. 08, 2017 (June 2017) The IPSO trade union that organises staff at the European Central Bank (ECB) mobilised staff for a demonstration on 7 June in protest at the ECB's long-term use of temporary contracts for staff doing permanent work. IPSO has been pushing for some time now for the Bank to end this practice where some workers have been employed for over five years, in some cases over 10 years, on renewed contracts. In the latest action IPSO also raised objections to the ECB's plans to outsource some services, starting with IT. EPSU sent a message of support.
May. 24, 2017 (May 2017) Two members of ver.di with the support of their union and the DGB confederation have won an important ruling in the European Court of Justice that protects the link between their pay and conditions and the public sector collective agreement. The two hospital employees were part of a transfer to a private company in 1997 but were then transferred again when the Asklepios company won the contract. Asklepios refused to maintain the link with the public sector collective agreement arguing that it was not party to the original negotiations. The European Court decided in favour of the workers because it said that the rules were specific to them to protect their rights and were not part of a collective agreement.
Apr. 07, 2017
European Action Day Against the Commercialisation, Marketisation and Privatisation of Health Care - 07.04.2017
EPSU will be involved in activities for the 2nd European Action Day against the impacts of privatisation, marketisation and commercialisation of health and social care on 7 April.
Apr. 05, 2017 (April 2017) Beginning this month the municipal services union Kommunal will be investigating the employment and working conditions of cleaners, looking at their employment status, working hours as well as health and safety problems. The union will carry out a survey as well as making workplace visits to talk to workers and assess how they are affected by what are often seen as the main problems facing the sector - the impact of privatisation, lack of control over work - but also good examples where workers do have more control over working time and other working conditions.
Apr. 05, 2017 (April 2017) Services union ver.di has signed a key agreement in Bremen that covers around 3200 eldercare workers employed by several non-profit care providers. The union sees this is as a significant step towards better collective bargaining coverage in the sector and helps remove pay and conditions as a factor in competition. Meanwhile the union has also negotiated two new agreements in the health sector, one provides a 7,3% pay increase for 3900 workers at the University Hospital in Leipzig and the other is a 5.1% pay increase for the 24000 employees in 36 hospitals run by the Helios company.