Jan. 20, 2020 Following the strike action by school secretaries on 10 January and subsequent industrial action (work-to-rule), Forsa their trade union has agreed to return to talks with the government that are being held by the Workplace Relations Committee conciliation service. The strike action is over the poor pay and conditions suffered by around 2000 school secretaries employed on precarious contracts by local schools (see last issue of EPSU Collective Bargaining News). Forsa is looking for real and significant progress in the talks otherwise the industrial action will re-start.
Jan. 20, 2020 Trade unions across Europe have been sending messages of solidarity to Ukrainian unions as they step up their campaign against planned reforms of labour law. Proposed legislation would abolish the most important legal and social guarantees for workers and trade unions covering minimum wages, pay and leave for hazardous work, weekly rest periods, overtime pay and limits, restrictions on night work for women, dismissal rights and protection of workers with disabilities. It allows for more flexible contracts, including zero-hours and weakens trade union rights. A national day of action has been called for 30 January.
Jan. 07, 2020 School secretaries organised by the Fórsa trade union planned a one-day strike on 10 January and further industrial action in support of their campaign for pay justice (see EPSU CB News 17 and 18, September 2019). Nine out of 10 school secretaries are employed by their local school, are paid less than EUR 12500 a year and have precarious employment conditions. In contrast, one in 10 are directly employment by the department of education and have the appropriate pay and conditions of public servants. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Jan. 06, 2020 Seven care workers, supported by the Fagforbundet public services union, have won a significant court case that rules they were wrongly classified as self-employed and so were denied the rights of employees. The workers took the case against the Baos private care company and their claim covers the wide range of benefits and rights that they should have been entitled to under the Work Environment Act. These cover paid holidays, overtime pay, working time, sick pay, pensions and other issues. The ruling means the company will have to pay the seven workers around NOK 5.5m (EUR 560000) to compensate for the lost rights. The union sees this as an important ruling for the private care sector where the practice of categorising workers as "self-employed" has become widespread.
Oct. 09, 2019 The public service federations of the CCOO confederation have called on the government to confirm the pay increase for 2020 as agreed and to undertake major negotiations over a range of issues including the re-establishment of rights and benefits frozen or removed as a result of austerity measures. The federations underline the need to stabilise employment and tackle the excessive levels of temporary work. They also say that long-standing issues relating to public employment, job classification, career development and equality need to be addressed.
Sep. 27, 2019 Over 250 schools across the country saw action by school secretaries (heads of administration) with widespread support from teaching staff and parents. The action was over the fact that the vast majority of school secretaries are on precarious contracts and paid up to EUR 12500 less than school secretaries directly employed by the ministry of education. The action went ahead on 20 September after negotiations with the ministry failed to deliver a breakthrough.
Sep. 12, 2019 Members of public services union Forsa who work as school secretaries (head of administration in schools) have voted with a nine-to-one majority to take industrial action from 20 September. The secretaries have a long-standing issue over a two-tier system that leaves most of them who are employed by schools on low pay and without other benefits such as sick pay and pensions. In contrast, a minority are directly employed public servants who benefit from much better pay and conditions. The action will mainly consist of a work-to-rule.
Aug. 22, 2019 Latest figures on public sector employment show that the overall level has still not recovered from the impact of austerity with 112100 fewer in public sector employment than in 2011. The data also show the scale of the two major problems facing the sector - a continuing high level of temporary contracts (28.2%) and an ageing workforce. Workers aged under 30 make up only 7% of the workforce with those over 50 accounting for 43.6%. Young workers are also more than three times as likely to be on a temporary contract (78.9%).
Aug. 08, 2019 Nine trade unions organising in the public services - CGT, CFDT, FO, UNSA, FSU, Solidaires, CFE-CGT, CFTC and FA-FP - have stated that they will continue to oppose the measures that are set to be implemented by the law on transforming the public sector that was voted through by the Senate on 23 July. The unions argue that the legislation will make it more difficult for them to protect workers' interests as it will weaken joint administrative committees and abolish committees dealing with health and safety and working conditions. They also warn that it will lead to more temporary employment and limit workers access to permanent contracts or civil service status. The unions are urging the government to engage in a proper process of social dialogue. The nine organisations are due to meet on 5 September to consider their next steps also in regard to pay and pensions.
Jul. 24, 2019 There have been two important developments covering health workers. The first is a new collective agreement after 10 years covering around 130000 doctors and managers in the national health service. The new agreement includes the EUR 200 a month increase enjoyed by public service workers in general but there are additional benefits for young doctors and additional payments linked to length of service. On-call night payments will increase from EUR 50 to EUR 100 (EUR 120 for emergency workers). There will be a joint initiative on well-being and measures to tackle violence against staff. In a separate development, public service unions have negotiated to ensure that 3000 health researchers on precarious contracts are covered by the main public health collective agreement.
Jun. 27, 2019 The health section of the CCOO confederation has made a major breakthrough by negotiating the first collective agreement covering researchers working for the biomedical research foundations of the Madrid health service. Around 1200 researchers will be covered by the agreement which will link their salaries to the pay structure of the Madrid health service. An important element of the agreement will be tackling the excessive use of temporary contracts. Up to 90% of the researchers are on temporary contracts and around a third of contracts are thought by the union to be illegal.
Apr. 30, 2019
This article summarises the main topics addressed at the meeting as well as the major decisions taken at the 50th edition of the EPSU Standing Committee "Health and Social Services" (SC HSS) on 27 February.
Apr. 30, 2019 An analysis by the GMB trade union reveals that care workers in the private sector are three times more likely to be on a zero hours contract than those in the public sector. It also finds that employees of private care companies are paid 17% less on average than their public sector counterparts and four in ten leave their job every year. Over 50% per cent of private carers have no relevant social care qualifications, compared with less than 20% in the public sector. The union highlights the underlying problem of underfunding of the sector, an issue which it says is becoming more acute as evidenced by the possible collapse of one of the country's biggest care providers, Four Seasons, which employs 20000 workers.
Apr. 16, 2019 The ETUC has published a report examining legal issues arising from new forms of employment. It hopes that it will make an important contribution to the debate around what action to take to provide protection for workers who fall outside the normal framework of labour and social legislation. The legal experts who compiled the report included a proposal for a new “personal work relation” that might help tackle these issues.
Mar. 28, 2019 Non-teaching staff at schools across the country took strike action on 21-22 March with support increasing on the second day and many schools closing. The unions are calling for action on low pay noting that with the recent increase in the minimum wage new workers are now often earning as much as staff with 20 years' service. The unions want to see a proper career structure put in place and measures to reduce precarious employment in order to recognise the contribution that these workers make to the education system.