The TEHY and SuPer nurses’ trade unions have condemned the new law that imposes tougher requirements on industrial action in the care sector. Despite the law, further action as part of the unions’ continuing campaign to secure higher pay took place on 27 September and the unions are determined to pursue their claims with SuPer considering declaring mass resignations in home care. The unions also point out that existing legislation already regulated strike action and so the new law imposes a further burden that targets the care sector specifically. They also argue that, in contrast to the rules
Staffing levels, Recruitment & organising
Strong public service unions are vital if we are to stand up for our values and our vision in our workplaces, sectors and communities. They are crucial in dealing with national, European and global institutions and in representing public service workers in national trade union centres and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). EPSU affiliates are more effective in negotiating and campaigning where they can count on an active membership, high union density or broad support from workers.
EPSU has been taking a range of initiatives to support affiliates, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, to build union power by developing recruitment and organising strategies and campaigns. This briefing, prepared for the 2019 Congress, covers recent work and current priorities. Our Organising and Campaigns staff, Agnieszka Ghinararu, Miloš Vlaisavljević and Artem Tidva, are working with affiliates to help them with advice, support and training and keeping them informed about new ideas on recruitment and organising methods.
The public service federations in the UGT and CCOO confederations welcome the fact that their demands for public sector pay negotiations have been agreed by the government. The unions want a multiannual agreement that allows for the maintenance of purchasing power and, in particular, an increase this year on top of the 2% pay increase imposed by the government. CCOO and UGT want to see action to correct the long-term decline in purchasing power across the public sector, with foreign service personnel, for example not seeing an increase for 14 years. The unions want to ensure that the new
The FP-CGIL, CISL-FP, UIL-FPL and UIL-PA public service federations are mobilising their members in protests in two sectors – health and social care and the justice ministry. The national health and social care protest on 29 October will be calling for increased funding, more jobs and better pay and conditions. The unions argue that it is all very well for the EU-backed national reform and resilience plans to support investment in new facilities, but the challenge will be to find the workers to staff them. Meanwhile, the federations have declared a state of agitation in the justice ministry as
The vida and GPA services unions have just launched their main demands in the “social economy” sector negotiations that cover 130,000 in private health and social care. The unions are calling for a pay increase that not only covers inflation (currently topping 9%), but also takes into account the hard work put in by employees over the past year. The unions also want to see more staff recruited and more free time, with the pandemic exposing the impact of staff shortages. They have a range of specific demands relating to overtime, job classifications and mileage allowances – all elements that
The FESAP federation of public service unions, including the SINTAP trade union, has written to the prime minister calling for a state budget in 2023 that would allow for pay increases across the public sector and a wide range of improvements in other employment conditions. Alongside the need to address the scourge of low pay across the public sector, especially for workers with long service, the federation also wants action on career development, precarious contracts and health and safety – all measures it says are necessary to address staff shortages. Meanwhile, the STAL local government
Firefighters’ unions, including Fp-Cgil-Vvf and Fns-Cisl have called a national demonstration in Rome on 14 September with urgent demands on pay, staffing, equipment and safety. With services stretched to the limit to tackle the increasing number of forest fires, flood and other emergencies, the unions argue that the number of active firefighters needs to be increased from 33000 to 40000 and professional and technical staff from 2000 to 5000. They are also concerned about inadequate and out-of-date equipment which not only hampers their response to emergencies but exposes firefighters to
Services union ver.di has welcomed the federal government’s statement that it wants to tackle skills shortages but argues strongly that in doing so it needs to address the big challenges in the public sector itself. Ver.di points out that education in kindergartens, schools – especially vocational schools – and universities, is key but the shortage of skilled workers in these sectors has long been a problem. Additional jobs and better working conditions in the public sector are needed. This not just about pay but about providing more training opportunities, better equipment and increased
The FOA trade union has sent a wake-up call to politicians from all sides about the need to address pay in the welfare sector. The union brought together 1200 of its shop stewards from across the country in a two-day conference to discuss pay in health, social care and other services and to really gauge the feeling at the workplace. The message from the conference was a mounting concern that society does not recognise the value of welfare work. FOA warns of increasing frustration and discontent among workers if action is not taken. It is already extremely difficult to recruit workers to the
The NSF and Fagforbundet trade unions have been considering the findings of a major survey of over 5000 nurses, nursing auxiliaries and assistants in their 50s and 60s, that reveals the pressure they face in terms of physical and mental stress and the main reasons why they tend to leave before retirement age. Increased staffing is seen as an essential measure to address the problem and help ensure that more of this skilled and experienced group of workers stay in work for longer. The unions also focus on the extent of part-time work and that while some nurses opt for fewer hours because they
EPSU’s recruitment and organising (R&O) team has arranged a webinar at 13.00 (CET) on 27 September to discuss the links between organising and collective bargaining. It will include practical examples from EPSU affiliates in Finland (JHL) and Germany (ver.di). Pertti Paajanen, JHL’s director of organisational affairs will talk about the union’s successful R&O campaigns and the interaction between recruitment and collective bargaining and industrial action. Ver.di activist Silvia Habekost will explain how the union succeeded in reaching collective agreements on staffing levels in two big public
EPSU has sent a message of solidarity to nurses' unions in Finland in the face of the government’s threat to ban strikes in health and social care. The federation has also written to the Finnish prime minister urging her to withdraw this unacceptable threat to the right to strike.
While welcoming progress on addressing health and care staffing issues, public services union ver.di is calling for major improvements to the hospital care relief bill. The union worked with the German Hospital Association and the German Nursing Council to develop the PPR 2.0 instrument for needs-based personnel assessment in nursing and argues that this should form the basis of the legislation and not be mentioned only in the explanatory memorandum. Ver.di says that the basis for staffing must be the care needs of patients and these should be clearly formulated in the law, with minimum
The TEHY and SuPer nurses’ unions are stepping up their campaign of industrial action to secure a better pay offer from the municipal employers. The two unions have maintained an ban on overtime and shift changes since before the summer but have now tightened up those restrictions and also announced a series of strike actions beginning with a one-day stoppage in Kanta-Häme in the South West on 2 September. So far three further strikes – each of four days – have been declared in Turku, Helsinki and Oulu with two running from 6-9 September and the Oulu action running from 13 to 16 September. The