The Nezavinost trade union confederation has called a national demonstration outside government offices in Belgrade on 10 December with a call for a 25% pay increase for all public sector workers. The key message of the demonstration is the need to properly value and recognise the work of public sector employees, to ensure their health and safety and guarantee compliance of employers with collective agreements.
Collective bargaining – trends and developments
Collective bargaining is a core activity of trade unions and EPSU’s affiliates negotiate with public service employers at every level. This can range from national public-sector wide bargaining to sector and local negotiations with public sector employers but also private and non-profit providers of public services. EPSU works with the European Trade Union Confederation to try to improve collective bargaining rights for all workers across Europe. We also act as a European information point so that EPSU affiliates are aware of trends in public service negotiations. EPSU’s collective bargaining newsletter provides regular updates on developments across Europe and this briefing gives an overview of the state of play in the main agreements in each country.
Following their national protest on 22 November, the FSC-CCOO, FesP-UGT and other unions in the Ministry of Justice have taken further action to support their demand for negotiations around the law on organizational efficiency in the justice service. They want to ensure protection of the pay and working conditions of civil servants. The unions are concerned about the impact on jobs, careers and opportunities for promotion and the level of services to citizens. The unions organised actions at Ministry of Justice offices around the country and have not ruled out strike action if there is no
Following the day of protest and strike action on 9 November, the three trade union confederations – ACV/CSC, ABVV/FGTB and CGLSB/ACLVB are planning further action with a national demonstration set for 16 December. The unions are calling for a revision to the salary law that restricts the unions’ scope to negotiate and they want to retain the pay indexation system that they are worried is under threat from the employers. Their other demands cover action on energy costs, a shift in taxation to support workers and measures to restrict flexi-jobs.
The Eurofound research agency has published a new study that argues that social dialogue and collective bargaining were essential in finding solutions to the challenges in the hospital sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. It notes that this was also true in countries where these structures are not so strong – including Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia and Malta – and not just those where this a long-standing tradition of cooperation between trade unions and employers. The study found that negotiations were crucial for, among other issues, agreeing the changes to work organisation required to
The FSC-CCOO, FeSP-UGT and other unions in the ministry of justice in Spain have been protesting to demand negotiations over the impact of legislation on organisational efficiency in the justice sector. The unions coordinated a demonstration outside the ministry on 22 November to highlight their concerns that the law doesn’t guarantee rights in relation to mobility, promotion, remuneration and other labour issues and that it poses a risk to jobs and the quality of service. Above all the unions want to ensure that all these questions are the subject of negotiation. Meanwhile, in Italy the three
The ČMKOS trade union confederation has sent an open letter to the prime minister asking him to respond to calls to open negotiations on pay rises for public sector workers in 2023 and reminding him that the confederation’s request from 19 October remains unanswered. The last meeting of ČMKOS representatives with the government took place on 27 September with no agreement on pay for 2023 at the time but with both side confirming their willingness to continue negotiations as soon as possible. The minister of labour and social affairs was also approached in October and November in an attempt to
The LO, mainly blue-collar workers’ trade union confederation, has put specific figures to its proposed pay coordination formula that it has drafted for the pay bargaining round in early 2023 with a key aim of supporting lower paid workers. The general pay claim would be for a 4.4% increase but with a minimum increase of SEK 1192 (€110) for those earning less than SEK 27100 (€2500) a month and with an increase of SEK 1371 (€126) on minimum wages in collective agreements. The majority of LO member organisations backed the plan although there are some concerns that the overall target is too low
The CITUB and Podkrepa trade union confederations will come together in a national protest on 11 November. The union organisations are calling for action to protect purchasing power through higher pay and an increase in the national minimum wage. They have also called for a 15% pay rise for public sector workers. EPSU and the PSI board meeting in Geneva sent messages of support.
The LO confederation, with 14 affiliates representing mainly blue-collar workers, has agreed a formula to coordinate collective bargaining on pay in the upcoming wage round. This includes a commitment to focus on lower paid workers with an aim to secure increases in minimum wages in collective agreements by specific amounts in Krone to underpin general percentage pay rises. This first step in coordination was welcomed by EPSU’s affiliates in LO, Kommunal, SEKO and the transport workers’ union. However, there was also a recognition that discussions would continue on the specific figures to be
Following a long-running campaign, the ETUC has welcomed the adoption of new guidelines by the European Commission which make clear EU competition law does not stand in the way of solo self-employed workers engaging in collective bargaining. Self-employed workers make up around a tenth of the European workforce but research commissioned by the ETUC found that some form of (limited) access to collective bargaining for self-employed workers existed in only 10 EU countries. The ETUC says that removing this legal uncertainty will benefit many of the more than 24 million self-employed and freelance
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