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 ETUC has welcomed elements of the latest version of the draft Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions but is disappointed that some hoped-for rights, such as a ban on zero-hours contracts, have not materialised. It notes the new rights in relation to training, probation, payment for cancelled shifts and working for more than one employer. The ETUC was also calling for the right for precarious workers to transfer to more secure forms of employment and is disappointed that workers on fewer than 12 hours a month will be excluded. EPSU reacted similarly but also underlined its concern that the Directive includes a loophole that would allow a broad range of public service workers to be denied certain rights.
Feb. 14, 2019 The Fagforbundet public service union is continuing to pursue legal action against the Aleris care company which it believes has major implications for labour rights in Norway. The company is being challenged over using self-employed workers that it calls "consultants" rather than directly employing care staff. The "consultants" have no employment rights and have been forced to work long hours of overtime, including up to 72 hours without a break, for fear of being denied work. They have no sickness or pension benefit or protection against dismissal. Aleris Care is now part of the Ambea group of companies which has renamed the operations Stendi.
Feb. 08, 2019
On 7 February, the European Parliament, European Commission and European Council (national governments) reached an agreement on the proposed Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive.
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.
Nov. 23, 2018 Industrial action across the public and private sectors forced the government to revise its proposal to make it easier to dismiss workers in small companies. Unions were angry not just about the change but also about the fact that the government hadn't consulted unions and employers over the proposal. Following the union action there were tripartite discussions and the draft law now has no minimum threshold for dismissal rights. While most unions accept the specific change, the TEHY health union is still concerned about the overall balance of the bill and the impact on sectors dominated by women.
Nov. 02, 2018 Public and private sector trade unions have suspended their industrial action in protest at planned changes to dismissal legislation following a commitment from the government to negotiate. The proposed changes would have made it easier to sack workers in small firms. Unions were objecting to the discriminatory provisions and to the failure to negotiate. The unions have only suspended the action and may restart it if the government doesn't undertake proper tripartite negotiations.
Oct. 31, 2018
Local and regional government workers across Europe and the globe provide essential public services which enable our cities and communities to prosper. Their working conditions, pay, and job security are closely interlinked with the quality and accessibility of services they provide – deficiencies in the former have a detrimental impact on the latter.
Oct. 25, 2018 The JHL public services union stepped up its industrial action against proposed changes in dismissal rights with a 48-hour strike by around 10000 members who work in cleaning, property maintenance and food service sectors and sports and culture services. The strike is part of widespread trade union industrial action against plans to reduce dismissal protection for workers in small companies. The unions argue that not only is the change unfair, creating two-tier labour law but also threatens to impact women workers more than men. Trade unions are also angry that the government is trying to change employment legislation without any negotiation or consultation with the union movement.
Sep. 14, 2018 The JHL public services union has warned that it will start a campaign of industrial action if the government goes ahead with plans to change the law on dismissal. The union leadership agreed that it would consider action short of a strike (such as an overtime ban) and even targeted strike action. The government is working on proposals that would make it easier to dismiss workers in companies with fewer than 20 employees which would cover 36% of all employees. JHL says that Finnish law is not restrictive by international standards and the government is pushing for the change even though there is no evidence that such a measure would have a positive effect on employment.
Sep. 13, 2018 The SIPTU general workers' union has welcomed new government intiatives on funding and regulation of the childcare sector which it believes will help improve children's safety and the quality of care. However, the union argues that urgent action is needed to tackle low pay and precarious employment in the sector. SIPTU says with average pay at only EUR 10.88 an hour, there are significant recruitment and retention problems as reflected in a staff turnover rate of just over 28%.The union wants to see a major overhaul of funding for the sector to provide the basis of decent pay for such undervalued workers.
Aug. 31, 2018 The three main unions representing health workers - FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-FPL - have issued a joint call demanding urgent action to tackle doctor shortages across the health service. The three federations are particularly concerned about precarious employment, the need for more specialists and for a recruitment plan for doctors to be put in place as soon as possible. They made their case at a meeting with the Ministry of Health on 30 August where they highlighted the impact of austerity and recruitment freezes which have impacted emergency services above all. The unions have warned for many years about the impact of doctor shortages and want to see a boost to recruitment of permanent staff and increases to both specialist and general medical training.
Aug. 30, 2018 More workers have come forward to join legal action against the Aleris care company following revelations about employment and working conditions made earlier this month (see epsucob@NEWS 16). Public service union Fagforbundet says that the company is avoiding its social, employment and tax obligations by taking workers on as self-employed "consultants" rather than employees. The union has taken this up with the authorities and a further eight workers have joined the 17 who were already involved in legal action. Some of these workers have been summarily dismissed or are given excessive hours or shifts that are impossible to cover. Revelations from one worker even accuse the company of putting him under pressure to get drugs for residents.
Aug. 16, 2018 The SIPTU services union has negotiated an agreement that could provide significant improvements to the pay and conditions of around 8000 home care workers employed in the community sector. The workers will have a guarantee that travel time will be include in the calculation of their pay and working time and the new deal should see them benefit from a proper valuation of their work, with minimum qualifications to be set for new workers and an end to precarious work. This will help bring the sector more line with the pay and conditions enjoyed by workers directly employed by the Health Service Executive. The union is also keen to ensure that there is an overall increase in hours of home care provision to benefit service users.