Nine trade unions and five student organisations have come together to issue a joint communique calling for action in response to the impact of inflation on the standard of living of workers, students and pensioners. They are calling for a policy of redistribution in favour of wages and action to tackle inequality, particularly between men and women. The organisations also underline that the minimum wage should be only regarded as appropriate as a starting salary and not a wage level that applies throughout a working life. The communique underlines that both public and private sector employers
Water, Low pay/minimum wages
In contrast to the continuing challenge to get the central government to award a general pay rise to public service workers and sign a collective agreement, the SSM confederation reports that unions are having considerable success at local level. The UPOZ and SUTKOZ trade unions are negotiating collective agreements with municipalities and local utilities companies, securing the targeted pay increase of 2806 denari (€45) and even setting up new trade union organisations. Recent deals have been negotiated in Stip, Prilep and Struga.
More than 38 million people in Europe can’t afford a week’s holiday despite being in work, according to an analysis by the European Trade Union Institute for the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). The ETUC argues that the cost-of-living crisis is putting holidays even further out of reach with the share of the total population who cannot afford a holiday increasing in over half of EU member states since 2019 and even the share of working people who can’t afford one has increased in 11 countries. Romania, Greece and Lithuania have the highest share of workers unable to get away for a
Health workers across Portugal took strike action on 1 July over a range of issues, not least pay increases to protect purchasing power. The SINTAP trade union highlights some of the key demands that include major issues relating to careers and career development, subsistence allowances, ensuring that all workers are on the single employment contract and strengthening the National Health Service in terms of both finance and staffing. Meanwhile, members of the STAL union joined the national strike in the ADP water company that is part of a long-running campaign to win improvements to pay
The European Trade Union Confederation has welcomed the decision by member states to support the Adequate Minimum Wages Directive that it says will help ensure that millions of workers across Europe get fairer wages and improved rights to collective bargaining. The directive is now set for a final sign-off by MEPs and ministers in September. The proposal includes a framework for setting adequate statutory minimum wages and a duty on member states to promote collective bargaining and combat union busting and to produce an action plan to support collective bargaining in states where coverage is
The trilogue negotiations between the European Commission, Council and Parliament have produced a provisional agreement on the Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages. It is now up to the Council and Parliament to vote on the proposal with the prospect that the Directive might be law by the autumn. The ETUC believes that the directive’s provisions on both statutory minimum wages and collective bargaining could be game changing, delivering not just vital increases for millions of workers who are facing surging prices but new rights and possibilities for trade unions to strengthen and extend
The STAL local services and FIEQUIMETAL industrial trade unions are continuing their collaboration in a campaign to assert their collective bargaining rights in the Águas de Portugal water company. The latest action was in Portalegre, north east of Lisbon where the two unions protested outside the company’s local offices. The unions are demanding that the national collective agreement be properly implemented across all the company’s subsidiaries and for negotiations on wage increases in response to the recent surge in inflation.
The STAL municipal workers’ union joined others in the Common Front group of public service unions in a national demonstration on 20 May in Lisbon. The main call was for government action to protect the purchasing power of workers in public administration. The unions argue that 12 years of wage stagnation has seen purchasing power fall by 15.4% and that the proposed pay increase of 0.9% for this year will again mean a significant cut in real pay as prices of food, energy and fuel surge. The unions also want to see a €90 a month rise for all workers, a minimum monthly wage of €850 along with
Municipal unions are pushing for the right to full-time work across the sector to tackle what they see as excessive use of part-time contracts. The FOA trade union has calculated the financial implications of full-time (37 hours a week) work for different occupations working different hours. For example, a social and health care assistant, who today is 41 years old, can increase their lifetime income (including all allowances and pensions) by DKK 5.3 million (over €700,000) by working full-time instead of 25 hours. Even older workers would see a real difference with a 51-year-old cleaner able
Members of the FNV, NU’91 and other unions have endorsed the new collective agreement covering around 190000 workers in disability care that is backdated and runs from 1 October 2021 to 31 January 2024. There is a 2.2% pay rise as from 1 May 2022 but with an €85 minimum increase and with also a commitment to a minimum hourly rate of €13.00. This means a 5% increase for the lowest paid. On 1 May 2023 there will be a further increase of 3.2%. The agreement also provides for hours reductions for older workers to encourage them to stay at work longer and measures to address the needs of women
EPSU’s Pan-European Conference on Public Utilities is back! Join us online on Tuesday, 10 May 2022 for the opening proceedings and a panel discussion on an issue that is only becoming more important: rising energy prices, and how unions can take action.