Addressing public debt is an important issue for unions. The constituency started with a PSI seminar of this topic. Debt is not an issue in isolation and is linked to the changes that have happened in the global economy over the last 30 years. The way debt crises play out have devastating effects on
On 28 March 2019 EPSU participated, together with its representatives of the two national affiliates from Romania, Sanitas, and Croatia, HSSMS-MT, in the kick-off meeting of the joint HOSPEEM-EPSU project focusing on strengthening social dialogue in the hospital sector that will run in 2019 and 2020.
The Pergam trade union confederation that includes many public sector unions joined the ZSSS confederation in a national demonstration in Ljubljana on 5 December. The protest was called in reaction to employer organisations' attacks on proposals to increase the minimum wage and threats to end sector collective bargaining. The action, taking place outside the head offices of a number of employer organisations, also called for a general pay increase for workers, recognising the problems of low pay and precarious employment.
The ZSSS trade union confederation and Pergam public service federation have called a national demonstration in Ljubljana for 5 December with demands to protect and respect collective agreements, for higher pay and an increase in the minimum wage. In the meantime, negotiations continue over pay in the public sector. Three public sector unions look to have settled with the government but as many as 20 other unions are still considering the latest offer. If negotiations break down then the unions are expected to take strike action on 5 December.
The Health and Social Welfare Union is the latest public sector union to commit to joining the national strike on 4 December and it has called on other unions in the health sector to support the action. The unions are waiting for a commitment from the government to negotiate over the public sector pay structure and measures to address cuts in pay. The unions want to see implementation of an agreement earlier this year to reverse an 8% cut in pay grades and some specific measures covering education workers. In particular, the unions want to maintain the public sector-wide pay structure.
Public service workers took strike action on 24 January calling for a pay rise. Pay was cut by 8% in 2012 and has been frozen since then despite growth in the economy, The unions are also calling for the single public sector pay structure to be maintained as a fair way of setting pay across the public services.The strike was supported by nearly 20 unions covering a broad range of workers including health and social services, defence, justice, fire services, education, research and other parts of government.
Slovenian public service workers plan to strike on the 24th of January and possibly again in February. The reason for the strike is to denounce that public service workers in Slovenia are not receiving their deserved pay increase for the work they do which is not only difficult but dangerous.
At least 17 public sector unions are planning to take part in a one-day strike on 24 January to demand an end to austerity and to the retention of the single pay system for all public sector workers. The unions are concerned about pay deals with doctors, public sector directors and senior managers in the state holding company that call into question the single pay structure in the public sector. In the meantime, the firefighters' union has called off action planned for 10 January following government agreement to regrading of 14 posts within the fire service.
Public sector cuts have even had an impact on intelligence and security staff with strike action announced for 6 December. The union representing staff in the agency say the dispute is over poor pay and working conditions as well as the need for increased employment in the agency, the evaluation of posts and implementation of social dialogue.
An analysis by the European Trade Union Institute shows that wage convergence between East and West in Europe was steady up until 2008. However, since then the trend has either stalled or gone into reverse. Taking national average pay as a percentage of the average across the pre-2004 EU15, Croatia and Hungary show the largest increase in the pay gap since 2008. There were also increases in Slovenia, Czech Republic, Poland and Romania.Most progress was made in Bulgaria but from a very low level (11.8%) to 17.7%, still less than a fifth of average pay in the West.