Social Dialogue, Energy
The GMB energy and general union declared an end to the long and bitter dispute with British Gas over its aggressive policy of firing and rehiring workers. GMB members voted three to one to accept a new deal. Around 7,000 British Gas engineers staged 44 days of strike action after the company threatened to sack them if they didn’t sign up to detrimental changes to their terms and conditions. The new deal offers improvements to overtime rates and unsocial hours payments, places limits on the amount of unsocial working undertaken, reverses the decision to close the defined benefit pension scheme
Health unions came together with representatives of trade union confederations to criticise a proposed amendment to the Health Care and Insurance Act. The unions argue that the amendment is effectively revenge for recent trade union protests against government policy and that it will deny trade unions and workers representation on health institution management bodies. Trade unions and confederations across all sectors have been engaged in protests over the refusal of the government to engage in social dialogue. This is just the latest example of the government failing to consult and putting
Around 30000 mainly energy workers covered by the AVEU collective agreement will get a 3.8% pay rise over the next two years. Pay will rise by 2.3% from 1 June 2021 and by 1.5% from 1 November 2022 (trainees get two increases of EU 50). The agreement runs for 27 months until 31 August 2023. There will also be a corona payment of EUR 600 paid by January 2022 at the latest with a pro-rata amount for part-time employees and EUR 300 for apprentices. All union members are to get two days off to attend specialist events and training courses. The AVEU agreement covers around 130 companies in Eastern
European and national sectoral social partners calling for the need to strengthen involvement of social partners to boost the recovery of the pandemic
The European Commission has published its Industrial Sector and an overview of so-called eco-systems recently. The European Trade Union Federations and the ETUC are critical about the lack of engagement with the social partners at national and European level.
The International Labour Conference has agreed a Global Call to Action outlining measures to create a human-centred recovery from the pandemic. Delegates from 181 countries representing governments, workers and employers adopted the call unanimously, prioritizing the creation of decent jobs for all and addresses the inequalities caused by the crisis. The agreement covers measures to be taken by national governments and their employer and trade union ‘social partners’, to achieve a job-rich recovery that substantially strengthens worker and social protections and supports sustainable
In February 2021, the European Commission launched a new strategy on adaptation to climate change as part of the European Green Deal. The objective is to make the European Union a climate-resilient society, fully adapted to climate change by 2050.
The main trade union confederations are taking part in the major national demonstration on 28 May. The unions are particularly concerned about the government’s refusal to engage in meaningful social dialogue and to consult trade unions over key pieces of legislation. The unions are also raising concerns about government plans on tax and other measures that mainly benefit the rich and risk undermining the welfare state. EPSU sent messages of solidarity.