Jan. 05, 2018 On 20 December the European Commission published is draft directive on transparent and predictable working conditions to replace the Written Statement Directive. The initial response from the ETUC is to welcome the requirement on employers to provide information to workers on day one and to extend this right to a range of atypical workers. There are also positive measures related to training, prohibition periods, protection of trade union reps and the rights of flexible workers. However, the ETUC wants to see additional measures to tackle the worst forms of precarious employment, particularly for workers on zero-hours contracts.
Dec. 15, 2017 The FNV trade union has welcomed a new two-year agreement covering 7000 workers in the waste and environment sector. Pay will increase by 6% over the two years but with a EUR 900 flat-rate increase in the second year it will mean that lower paid workers will see wages rise by 7.5%. There is also a commitment to provide permanent contracts for 360 temporary workers, to reduce hours for older staff while taking on young workers and paid partner leave at the birth of a child will now be a minimum of four weeks. Private sector waste workers are covered by a separate (transport) three-year agreement signed earlier this year with a 2% pay increase a year plus additions for specific jobs.
Nov. 29, 2017 The ver.di services union has negotiated a new agreement with the management of the university hospitals of the towns of Gießen and Marburg in the Hesse region in central Germany. This is a major success arising from the union's national campaign of protests and strikes calling for action on staffing in the sector. The agreement, covering 7000 workers, provides for the possibility of taking on new workers as well as creating a pool of workers who are in a position to cover short and long-term gaps in staffing. It also commits the management and union to negotiate over measures to address persistent cases of understaffing. In the meantime ver.di continues its campaign to secure legislation at federal level to set safe staffing levels.
Nov. 10, 2017
The Committee for local and regional government bringing together EPSU and CEMR members have adopted a new work programme for 2018-2019.
Nov. 09, 2017 Excessive workloads and unpredictable hours will feature prominently in the childcare sector negotiations that began on 8 November. With a slogan that "we're not jacks of all trades" the FNV trade union highlighted the problem that childcare workers were overburdened with cleaning, administrative and other tasks rather than child care itself. The union will be looking for restrictions on the extent to which employers can ask childcare workers to change their working time at short notice. The main pay claim will be for a 3.5% pay rise for the 80000 workers in the sector.
Oct. 13, 2017 The ver.di services union organised further strike action among health workers on 10 and 11 October as a further step in its campaign to deal with massive staffing shortages across the sector. The union is looking to negotiate agreements to tackle overwork, excessive overtime and workers being called out at short notice to fill staffing gaps. Ver.di wants to see all workers take their proper breaks and ultimately the aim is for national legislation to set minimum staffing levels.
Sep. 26, 2017 The HK Kommunal municipal union has received plenty of input from members and activists as it prepares its claim for the upcoming negotiations. Over 7000 contributions with 20000 suggestions have been submitted to the union covering a wide range of pay and conditions. Some of the key issues highlighted by the union include the need to maintain competence funds that provide for education and training and the call for action to tackle stress. Time off to deal with care responsibilities is also a common demand, particularly from workers with caring responsibilities for older people. There are varied opinions on pay with some calling for a general wage increase for all while others see local pay deals as important.
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.
Sep. 25, 2017 Member of the services union ver.di working in several hospitals across the country took strike action on 19 September as part of the union's campaign on safe staffing levels and reducing workloads. EPSU general secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan sent a message of support, underlining the importance of protecting the well-being of both health workers and patients by taking urgent action to reduce staff shortages in the sector estimated at over 160000, including over 70000 frontline care workers.
Sep. 14, 2017 In the run-up to negotiating a new collective agreement covering 80000 workers in the childcare sector, the FNV trade union has published the results of a survey that reveal excessive flexibility in working hours and too many fixed-term contracts as major issues for childcare workers. The union argues that many workers have so few set hours that they can be called on at short notice to work additional hours, creating uncertainty and stress. With the increasing demand for workers in the sector the FNV argues that these issues need to be addressed if more qualified workers are to be recruited.
Aug. 31, 2017 Members of the FNV trade union at the Kwadrant care company have made some progress on their demands for action on jobs and overwork (see epsucob@NEWS no.15). In an initial meeting with management the workers have at least been given a commitment that travel time between clients will be fully paid working time. They will have to wait until 1 October to find out if the company will respond to their key demand not to cut jobs and to tackle the heavy workloads faced by many carers. The union has organised a petition among workers to highlight the problems they face.
Aug. 16, 2017 The GPA-djp private services union is campaigning to defend workers' rights on working time and against pressure from employers for more flexibility in working time legislation and a move to a 12-hour maximum working day. The union points out that Austrian workers already have a 41.5-hour working week on average, among the highest in Europe, and often have to work overtime at short notice. The GPA-djp also highlights the evidence of increased health and safety risks once the working day goes over nine hours.
Aug. 01, 2017 Services union ver.di is targetting a selection of public and private hospitals in seven regions, calling on them to negotiate agreements to reduce excessive workloads. The union argues that many healthworkers are under pressure to work long hours to fill the gap left by a shortage of 162000 workers across the sector. This is having a detrimental impact on workers' health and ver.di wants employers to recognise this and their responsibility to provide good working conditions.
Jun. 08, 2017 (June 2017) The ETF European federation for transport workers has reacted angrily to recommendatoins from the European Commission in its "Open and connected Europe" document on the so-called service continuity, including measures affecting the right to strike of air traffic control staff. The federation believes the measures infringe the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and says it reserves the right to challenge them in the European Court of Justice. The ETF is also highly critical of the mobility package launched by the European Commission last month, arguing against dangerous proposals on rest time which threaten to increase fatigue among drivers and increase risks of accidents.