The public services union ver.di has published early results of a major study of workers in social services that reveals the high risks of burnout and exhaustion faced by many workers in the sector. The survey covers more than 8,200 employees in childcare, disability assistance, youth welfare offices and other areas of social work. It found that since the pandemic many employees often skip the legally required rest breaks and 40% stated that they regularly work three or more hours overtime a week as well. Over 65% of respondents say that they are under time pressure at work, with more than 80%
Early Childhood Education and Care
Early Childhood Education and Care is an important area of social services for EPSU which aims to work together with affiliates, civil society and others to ensure accessible, affordable and quality childcare in Europe. The overwhelmingly female workforce is undervalued and the improving of pay and working conditions across the sector is crucial along with lobbying and campaigning for increased public investment and funding. EPSU has set up an Early Childhood Education and Care network to enable affiliates that organised in the sector to coordinate and exchange information.
The SuPer health and care union has published findings from a survey of workers in early years education that found more than half (53%) of respondents felt that the quality of service had deteriorated over the past five years with insufficient staff seen as the main problem. Over 1,000 union members replied to the survey, with 88% saying that they had experienced staff shortages in their work unit on at least a monthly basis. They survey also found that the increase in other tasks meant that workers had less time for direct contact with children. Almost 80% of respondents are considering
After a month of strike action, the Fagforbundet, Delta and education trade unions have been able to secure an agreement with the PBL private childcare employers’ organisation on new pension arrangements. Workers will be able to build up a lifetime contractual pension from 1 January 2025 which will be comparable to that available to municipal employees. In addition, the percentage rate paid by employees for their own occupational pension will be reduced from 3% to 2.5% per cent in 2023, then down to 2% per cent when the new scheme is established. The employer's share is increased accordingly.
After four rounds of negotiations, employers in the childcare sector have failed to improve the pay increase offered at the beginning of November – a 10.15% increase over two years. The FNV trade union argues that this is insufficient to protect against inflation and deliver the level of pay that would help address staff shortages. The union claim is for a 12.9% increase over 12 months. At the beginning of November, the unions launched a petition, now signed over 15,000 times, to make it clear to employers that a decent wage increase is desperately needed to keep the sector attractive to work
The FNV trade union reports that the employers have stalled the negotiations in the childcare sector after three rounds of bargaining. The union says that while the employers acknowledge the major problems of overwork and understaffing they are not willing to take the urgent action required to tackle them. The FNV wants a one-year agreement covering 2023 that will deliver a pay rise compensating for inflation plus €100 a month, a minimum hourly wage of €14.00 and an increase in the end-of-year bonus from 3% to 5% of salary. It has also proposed improvements in work-life balance in relation to
The SIPTU trade union has called for the pay rates of workers in early years education to keep pace with the Living Wage following the announcement that it is to increase by €0.95, taking it to €13.85 per hour. Childcare professionals secured an historic first pay deal this year, establishing a minimum rate of pay of €13 per hour. This was €0.10 cent over the Living Wage at the time. The union is now calling on the government and employers to deliver a pay increase to reflect the rise in the cost of living otherwise all the work done to address low pay, high staff turnover and the recruitment
Following the failure of voluntary mediation between unions and the PBL private childcare employers’ organisation, over 500 more workers were set to join the strike action from Monday 14 November, taking the total to around 3600. The three unions involved – Fagforbundet, Delta and the education union – are calling on PBL to provide a pension scheme comparable to that covering the municipal sector and already applied in other parts of the private sector. If the current PBL scheme is maintained then workers could lose out by between NOK 50,000-70,000 (€4840-6780) a year. Mandatory mediation is
The public service unions Fagforbundet and Delta, along with the UF teachers’ union, are stepping up their industrial action to secure better pension rights for workers in private kindergartens. The action began on 17 October when mediation with the PBL employers’ organisation failed. More workers were due to join the action on 27 October which aims to ensure that workers covered by the PBL agreement have the same pension rights as childcare workers in municipalities. The action is getting widespread support, including a delegation from EPSU and its affiliates, and has helped boost union
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
Trade unions in several sectors have planned action this autumn over jobs, pay and pensions. The CGT has called for protests and strikes across France on 29 September in response to the cost-of-living crisis with calls to increase pay, a minimum wage of €2000 a month and moves towards a 32-hour working week. Meanwhile, energy unions, including FNME-CGT, FO-FNEM and CFE Énergies have rejected the latest pay offer from the electricity employers and are planning action on 6 October. In the care sector, FO mobilised workers in residential elderly care on 27 September to demand recognition of
This week, the EPSU Childcare Network met to discuss monitoring and evaluation of early childhood education and care, the capacity of ECEC systems to welcome Ukrainian children and ECEC staff, and child : staff ratios.
After three days of bargaining the ver.di services union has negotiated an agreement with the VKA municipal employers that goes some way to address the undervaluation and overwork of staff in social and educational services. The union thanked its members for mobilising to achieve the result in the face of considerable resistance from the employers. Over 40,000 ver.di members took action in the week leading up to the latest negotiations. The agreement will provide employees with two additional days off as well as the option to convert part of their salary into two further days off. Educators