Mar. 28, 2019 Public service unions have called for urgent action to address the immediate threat to jobs and the long-term issue of outsourcing in the wake of the collapse of a second major outsourcing company in two years. Interserve has around 45000 workers and government contracts worth GBP 2.1 billion (EUR 2.45 billion). Unite, the largest trade union in the company, has called for urgent talks in order to address the future of workers employed on the hundreds of contracts for cleaning, catering, facilities management and construction. Public service union Unison has called for all Interserve contracts to be brought back in-house.
Feb. 28, 2019 A new analysis from the research organisation, the Living Wage Foundation, shows that over one million public service workers are paid less than the living wage - GBP 9.00 (EUR 10.50) an hour outside London and GBP 10.55 (EUR 12.30) in London. These figures are calculated by independent researchers and are higher than the official minimum wage. Public service union UNISON says that recent pay deals in health and local government have lifted minimum wage rates in collective agreements above the living wage but many workers employed by private contractors in care, catering and cleaning and other services are on lower rates. UNISON members at Liverpool's Women's Hospital took strike action on 25 February to secure higher pay while other contractors in the health service have committed to increase rates. Members of PCS working for contractors at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have also been on strike for higher pay.
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.
Jan. 18, 2019 The Fagforbundet public services union reports that its legal action against the Aleris social care multinational began on 14 January. The union brought the action on behalf of workers who argue that they are employees of the company and not "consultants" as claimed by Aleris. As self-employed consultants they have far fewer rights and Aleris was able to exploit them, for example, by giving them excessively long shifts. Fagforbundet sees the case as a key challenge to social dumping, highlighting the negative impact not just on the workers but also the quality of service to groups of very vulnerable people.
Jan. 03, 2019 The Oslo District Court has rejected the attempt by the Aleris multinational care company to use European law to prevent workers claiming their rightful status as employees. Thirty-seven workers, supported by the Fagforbundet trade union, have launched legal proceedings against the company which has denied them employment rights by classifying them as consultants rather than employees (see epsucob@NEWS 16 and 17, 2018). The trade union accuses the company of trying to intimidate individual workers and employing teams of highly-paid lawyers to try to block their claims in the court. A case involving 24 of the 37 workers will be heard in the Oslo District Court on 14 January.
Dec. 03, 2018 It has taken three and a half years and legal action by the FOA public service union to ensure that care workers finally get the money they owed from their employer, Kaerkommen, which went bust in 2015. The 77 workers were owed around DK 12 million (EUR 1.6m) in pay and holiday allowance but the public authorities - municipalities on the one-hand and the wage guarantee fund on the other - refused to take responsibility for the compensation. The court ruled that the wage guarantee fund should pay up and the employment minister has now drafted new legislation to cover such cases and ensure that in future workers don't lose out.
Nov. 23, 2018 On 20 November the government announced compulsory arbitration to end a dispute between the NSF nurses' union and the NHO private employers' organisation. The union had called a strategic strike of 55 nurses on 25 October to protest against the NHO agreement having lower minimum pay and sickness benefit rates compared to the agreement negotiated with municipal employers. NSF has found examples of nurses' annual salaries in NHO employers that are NOK 30000-100000 (EUR 3200-10000) lower than in the public sector. After three weeks of strike action the NHO imposed a lockout on all 501 NSF members in NHO organisations prompting the government to intervene on the basis that the lockout posed a threat to patients' health.
Nov. 02, 2018 The four main public service unions - FP-CGIL, CISL-FP, UIL-PA and UIL-FPL - have together launched a major campaign and petition calling for action to improve public services and deliver better employment conditions. The four unions have drawn up a document with 11 key proposals that cover calls for increased public investment; substantial recruitment of new workers and improved training provision; better union representation; finalising outstanding collective agreements for the 2016-2018 period and ensuring resources for the next round of agreements for 2019-21; bringing back privatised services in-house and increased funding for the health service.
Nov. 02, 2018 The Fagforbundet public service union has revealed figures showing that care workers in the private sector in Oslo are between EUR 7000 and EUR 8700 worse off than those in the public sector. A starting salary for a graduate care worker in the public sector is NOK 367000 (EUR 38500), NOK 84000 more than the same worker in the private sector. Those on minimum wages in the sector are EUR 7000 better off if employed by the municipality. Fagforbundet also says that private sector workers are more likely to face heavier workloads as a result of understaffing. Fourteen of the 40 care homes in Oslo are currently run by the private sector although the municipality has plans to gradually bring them back under public management.