Members of the FBU firefighters’ union have voted overwhelming for strike action and the union has given the government 10 days to respond before setting any strike dates. This means firefighters will join the widespread actions across the UK involving central government workers, nurses and ambulance staff along with education and rail workers. The PCS civil service union organised a national strike on 1 February and further targeted action is planned for later in the month. The TUC confederation also organised protests around the country on 1 February in protest at the government plans for
Members of the SIPTU union working as retained (part-time) firefighters have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action, including strike action, in protest at the failure to address problems in relation to pay, leave and working time. The union argues that serious recruitment and retention problems are putting extra pressure on existing staff who have also seen a decline in their pay and are finding increasingly difficult to take leave. SIPTU is calling for the introduction of a structure system of pay and conditions.
Members of the PCS central government union have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in over 120 areas of government activity. The average majority “yes” vote of over 86% is the highest in the union’s history. The union is calling for a 10% pay rise, pensions justice, job security and no cuts to redundancy terms. With no response from the government on these issues PCS has agreed an initial programme of targeted action in the ministries covering ports, borders and all areas of transport among others. Meanwhile, more health workers in range of areas including blood and transplant services
LRG Social Dialogues adopt joint position on protecting workers from asbestos and the future of local emergency services
On 16 November, EPSU and CEMR sealed a number of important agreements setting the priorities for the next years and committing to political principles for the workers in emergency services and their protection from asbestos.
The SZSVS health union reports that a new agreement covering the public sector is close to being finalised with a 4.5% pay increase due from 1 October this year. There will also be increases to the lunch allowances and some starting salaries will be moved up one pay bracket from April 2023. There will also be additional compensation ranging from €100 to €300 for the lower paid. However, several matters affecting different pay categories of health workers, that prompted a strike earlier this year, remain unresolved and firefighters are also concerned to see some occupations move up the pay
On 28 September, the European Commission published its proposal to better protect workers from asbestos, by lowering the current occupational exposure limit for asbestos from 100,000 fibres per cubic meter to 10,000 fibres per cubic meter.
The FBU firefighters’ union is the latest public service union to consider industrial action over pay. The union has rejected a 2% pay offer and is now consulting its membership over a possible national ballot on strike action. Workers in universities, including non-teaching staff, began strike action on 20 September, having rejected a 3% pay offer and calling for a pay rise to match inflation. In the health service, the RCN nursing union has postponed its historic ballot on industrial action to run from 6 October to 2 November while in central government the PCS’s ballot for industrial action
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
The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations representing forest firefighters say they will launch a campaign of strikes and protests unless the government and the autonomous regions deliver legislation that really protects the rights and conditions of this essential group of workers. The unions warn that action is needed urgently in the light of the surge in serious and large forest fires this summer. They argue that the legislation put forward on 25 August does not fully address the demands of the unions for homogenous working conditions covering training, salary structure
The three public service federations – Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp and Uil-Fpl – have negotiated a new collective agreement covering 430,000 workers in local government. Workers will see pay rise by 4%-5% with the higher increases for the lower paid. There are improvements to the system of career progression and changes to the salary table. There will be new rules on remote work and a strengthening of the industrial relations system, particularly with regard to local bargaining. There is a range of improvements to leave arrangements including better compensation (pay or time off) for those working on
The Secretary of State for the Environment has told the FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations that he will present a draft statute covering forest firefighters to parliament for approval. This has been a long-standing demand of the trade unions who want to see common national provisions covering the wage structure, professional classifications, training, job security and social protection. The unions argue that this will professionalise the sector, help stabilise jobs and contribute to a better coordination across the autonomous regions.
Forest fires and heat waves are hitting Europe hard – yet again. With record high temperatures and no rain, life and work for many people in Europe is reaching a point of no return, putting the health and - in certain cases - life of many at risk.
The FOA trade union is planning to open old cases related to firefighters and cancer, following the publication of new research that links at least two cancers to firefighting, with further limited evidence in relation to five other cancers. The union argues that there is now sufficient evidence that mesothelioma (linked to asbestos) and bladder cancer may have been triggered by working as a firefighter and should be added to the occupational disease list. FOA has been at the forefront of developing procedures to prevent firefighters from being exposed to the harmful substances that develop