Jun. 05, 2020 Municipal services union Kommunal reveals that 16% of workers in eldercare still don't have access to personal protective equipment (PPE). Although this figure has fallen from 37%, the union says that is still unacceptable and is also concerned that around a fifth of workers say that their workplaces are not following proper hygiene practices. Eldercare workers are not just calling for more PPE but also increased staffing to help deal with the impact of the pandemic which the union argues is far from over.
Jun. 05, 2020 On 3 June, the European Commission launched the second-stage consultation on an initiative to deliver fair minimum wages. The deadline for responses is 4 September. In an initial reaction, the ETUC welcomed the greater emphasis on collective bargaining. However, there is no detailed proposal from the Commission. The ETUC has underlined the importance of action on wages, noting the impact of the current crisis and the fact that in several countries wages have yet to recover from the previous crisis. A draft response is due from the ETUC shortly and this will be discussed at an EPSU collective bargaining working group on 19 June.
Jun. 05, 2020 The new collective agreement covering 420000 local government workers, including health care was finally agreed at the end of May and runs from 1.4.2020 to 28.2.2022. There will be a pay rise of 1.22% or at least 26 Euro on 1 August this year, followed by a further 1% on 1 April 2021. There is also a sum of 0.8% to be agreed at local level, valid from 1 April 2021. The annual 24 unpaid extra working hours agreed as part of a "competitiveness" pact with the then government in 2016 will end on 30 August this year. From September 2021 there will be a separate agreement covering healthcare workers as called for by the TEHY and Super trade unions. Unions were disappointed that the employers didn't agree to a COVID-19 bonus but this has not been completely ruled out.
Jun. 05, 2020 Progress with collective bargaining in the public sector has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Around 2.1 million workers are covered by the agreement for Federal and Municipal government which was last negotiated in 2018 and runs until 31 August this year. The trade union ver.di convened its collective bargaining committee earlier this month where it postponed the decision to formally give notice on the end of the agreement which would start negotiations. There will be an opening discussion with the VKA employers' organisation on 16 June and the collective bargaining committee will reconvene on 18 June to consider the options. Meanwhile, in specific negotiations covering workers in social and childcare only one of three planned negotiating meetings with the VKA have taken place and further meetings not yet confirmed. Negotiations on a collective agreement on digitalisation were due to start in April but have been postponed to August.
Jun. 04, 2020 The public service federations - Fp Cgil, Cisl Fp and Uil Fpl - have signed a new three-year agreement with the Red Cross, running until 2022. The overall pay increase will be around 4.5%, with the increases of €23,56, implemented on 1.12.2020, 1.12.2021 and 1.9.22. There are several other elements in the agreement including strengthening second level bargaining; the recognition of time taken to change into/out of uniforms as working time; the introduction of paid sick leave to look after children and revaluations of certain professions. Other provisions cover allowances for risks such as radiation, arduous work as well as pension and healthcare. Home care workers will see their travel time guaranteed as working time with a specific allowance.
Jun. 04, 2020 The public service federations of the CCOO and UGT confederations have called on the government to negotiate a new agreement for public employees that will include provisions that allow for the recovery of rights, wages and employment that were cut as a result of austerity measures after the last crisis. The current agreement was signed in March 2018 and expires this year. The federations have three main priorities: the defence of public services; an increase in public employment, including a reduction of the rate of temporary employment and ending the restrictions on replacement of staff who leave; and continued steps to recover purchasing power and labour rights.
Jun. 03, 2020 The five main health trade unions – CGT, CFDT, FO, SUD and UNSA – have written a joint open letter to the health minister calling on him to set out clear proposals for a process of negotiation over the content of the plan for health that he intends to publish on 25 May. The plan should include initiatives on pay and working time but the unions not that they were not consulted at all in advance of the minister’s statement on 17 May and want clear reassurances that proper negotiations will take place with them as the representative unions in the sector. They have also called for a timetable for the negotiations and have underlined that they want to raise all the key issues on pay, jobs and services that they have been campaigning for in recent years. French unions
Jun. 03, 2020 Public service union UNISON reports that the Medirest private company will give its 2,200 staff, who provide cleaning, portering and catering services in NHS hospitals across England, will see their pay increase by an average of 5% from the beginning of June. The lowest pay rate will rise from £8.75 (EUR 9.80) to £9.21 (EUR 10.30) an hour, bringing it in line with the minimum rate for directly employed health workers.
Jun. 03, 2020 The Fagforbundet public service union has underlined that it wants to maintain its key priorities for the pay bargaining round that has been deferred to the autumn. The union aims to address the situation of skilled workers who have fallen behind on pay in recent years. It also wants to see the work done by many public service workers during the pandemic properly recognise, stressing that it may not be appropriate to target specific occupations as many services are provided by team work and so it would not necessarily be fair to reward some and not others. Fagforbundet is aware of the pressures there will be to moderate pay claims with the KS local government employers already calling for a pay freeze.
Jun. 03, 2020 The FOA trade union reports success in getting the government to set up a new committee to deal with personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing for COVID-19 infections. The new body will not only ensure that enough PPE and testing are available in response to any resurgence in the pandemic but also in preparation for any future crises. The union also underlined the need to take measures to ensure that health and social care are in general strengthened and not subject to the kinds of efficiency measures that have been common in recent years. FOA underlines the need for support for the elder care sector in particular which has been neglected by employers and the government to the detriment of workers and the elderly.
Jun. 03, 2020 The ver.di health union has welcomed parliamentary approval of the EUR 1500 COVID-19 bonus for all workers in elder care. This is important to ensure that all regions allocate funding to cover the payments following debate on how the bonus would be funded. Ver.di has also been critical of the private companies in the sector making high profits but unwilling to cover the full cost of the payment. The union says that it is still negotiating a new collective agreement with the BVAP employers’ organisation that it hopes will address the long-standing problem of low pay and poor working conditions in the sector.
Jun. 03, 2020 The younion and GÖD public service unions have called for urgent negotiations on measures to address training needs in healthcare in response to an interim report on changes to the nursing and care act. The unions say that around 67000 care workers need to be trained over the next 10 years. However, there have been worrying declines in those completing training in recent years with a 20% fall between 2014 and 2017. Younion and GÖD are calling for more resources to boost training provision including pay for trainees but also better pay and conditions in general for health worker in order to attract more people to the sector.
Jun. 03, 2020 When prime minister Sophie Wilmès visited the Saint-Pierre hospital in Brussels earlier this month she was met by rows of health workers with their backs turned. This reflected the growing anger among health workers about the failure of the government to deal with the pressing needs of the sector in terms of funding, staffing and personal protective equipment. Health trade unions are also angry about the two decrees (see CB News 9) on assistants carrying out nursing duties and requisitioning staff. Unions have issued official strike declarations in response to the failure to have a proper social dialogue on these key issues
May. 29, 2020 The STAL municipal services union has negotiated an agreement with the AMBILITAL inter-municipal waste company that provides for an extraordinary allowance of 300 euros for all workers and guarantees to protect the incomes of workers subject to containment measures during the COVID-19 outbreak. The union sees these as essential measures to address the current emergency and reflect STAL’s longstanding aim to achieve greater recognition of the arduousness nature of the work in the sector.
May. 29, 2020 The SIPTU health union has reiterated its demand that the government publishes full details of where over 7,600 workers have tested positive for Covid-19. The union says that the data is needed to identify any Covid-19 hotspots and to understand if health workers were exposed due to the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) or poor enforcement of protocols. It will also allow the union to find out how these workers were treated by their employer. SIPTU is also concerned about health workers taken on by employment agencies who are not covered by Covid-19 paid leave or ‘death in service’ policies. The union wants health workers exposed to the disease to receive compensation for loss of salary and state support for medical costs including counselling.