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. 29, 2019 The three main trade union confederations - ACV/CSC, FGTB/ABVV, CGLSB/ACLVB - have called a general strike on 13 February to support their position in the cross-sector negotiations where the employers are refusing to negotiate on key issues and where a government re-calculation of data has produced a negotiating margin of only 0.8% for pay. The unions want to see action on early retirement provision, a minimum pension of EUR 1500 a month, an increase in pay in general as well as a push for a minimum wage of EUR 14 an hour. The other demands include equal pay for equal work and a strengthening of public services and better conditions for public service workers.
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. 29, 2019 The main FNV trade union is linking up with the CNV and VCP confederations to launch a cross-sector campaign on pensions. The plan is for workplace meetings across the country in the lead up to a national demonstration on 18 March. The unions want to see a freeze in pension age and no automatic link to increases in life expectancy. They are also calling for indexation to protect pensions from erosion by inflation and rules to ensure that all workers can build up pension entitlement to protect freelancers and those on precarious contracts, particularly younger workers.
Jan. 03, 2019 Sixteen trade unions are working together in a campaign against the "slave law" that will see major changes to rules on working time, with overtime limits increased from 250 hours to 400 hours a year. A national demonstration was organised on 8 December and EPSU sent a message of support. A further national protest is planned for 5 January, with support also coming from civil society organisations. The unions have a range of demands including withdrawal of the overtime proposals, a pay rise for public sector workers, changes to the strike law and improvements to pensions.
Jan. 03, 2019 A statute published last month confirms the pay increases that will be implemented this year for all public sector workers as part of a three-year package that was negotiated with unions last year. Along with a basic increase of 2.25% this January, there will be an additional 0.25% (0.3% if there is a budget surplus in 2018) and a further 0.25% in July if economic growth is 2.5% or more. Unions will be looking for progress on other key demands when they meet the government later this month. In particular, they want to see an increase in public sector employment and an end to restrictions on recruitment. They are also calling for negotiations, without conditions, on working time, early retirement and the restoration of other rights lost or worsened by austerity measures.
Jan. 03, 2019 Firefighters, members of the STAL and STML trade unions, took strike action from 18 December to 2 January in protest at government plans to change the statutes covering their pay, retirement and other conditions. The unions not only reject the proposed changes but are angry that the government aimed to implement them without any consultation or negotiation with the unions. The unions have made a series of demands related to protecting basic pay and ensuring appropriate payments for on-call and overtime work as well as allowances for dangerous and arduous conditions. They are also seeking improvements in career progression, support for firefighters injured at work and better training,
Dec. 03, 2018 The STAL and STML trade unions that represent firefighters organised a national protest in Lisbon on 3 December to challenge the government over changes to the statutes that regulate pay and conditions in the sector. The trade unions had already registered their anger with the government over its failure to negotiate with them. The government did agree to meet the unions but they rejected its proposals for change because they threatened to undermine firefighters' pay, pensions and career progression.
Nov. 08, 2018 ADEDY, the public services confederation, has called a 24-hour strike for 14 November. It is calling on the government to negotiate over a gradual process of pay restoration. ADEDY says that civil servants have already seen pay cut by 40% and now tax rises and reductions in tax allowances will further reduce take home pay. It is calling for immediate pay rises and the restoration of the 13th and 14th month salaries as initial steps in this process. The strike demands also cover the urgent need to recruit additional permanent staff, for measures on skills and training rather than a new evaluation system, improvements to pensions and a stop to privatisation.
Oct. 26, 2018 At a meeting on 22 October the health workers' union confirmed its opposition to the government's pensions reforms and said it would fight to restore the right to early retirement for health workers. The reforms, including raising the pension age to 65, have met with widespread opposition across the trade union movement not just over the measures themselves but also the way the government introduced them with little or no consultation. The law takes effect from 1 January 2019 and the health workers' union is considering legal action to challenge the changes to early retirement rights.
Oct. 26, 2018 Unions from all sectors joined a national demonstration in Zagreb on 20 October in protest against changes to the pensions system, including an increase in pension age to 67. Unions are calling for a pension age of 65 and to retain rules on early retirement including the possibility of retiring at 60 with 41 years of contributions. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Oct. 10, 2018 The STAL local government union and other public service unions in the Frente Comum have called a one-day strike in public administration on 26 October. The unions have a range of demands including a 4% increase on pay (with a minimum increase of EUR 60) and pensions, measures to tackle precarious employment and also to ensure that all public service workers have the right to the 35-hour week.
Oct. 10, 2018 Earlier this month parliament approved government plans to gradually increase pension ages by five years starting from next year. The change has been widely rejected by trade unions with public service workers joining recent demonstrations to show their opposition. The issue was discussed at last month's meeting of EPSU's constituency covering Russian and Central Asia which agreed a statement expressing concern not just about the impact of the change but also about the failure of the government to carry out a proper consultation with trade unions.
Oct. 10, 2018 A new report from the Committee on Workers' Capital reveals the obscure way in which many fund managers charge costs to pension funds. It makes suggestions and provides guidance on how these costs can be made public and how this contributes to better pension fund performance and ultimately to higher pay-outs.