On 21 September the ADEDY civil service confederation organised national strike action in protest at labour law changes that were due to be discussed in parliament that day. The changes target the public sector and include relaxations in working time rules that could see civil servants working up to 13 hours a day/78 per week. The changes would mark the end of the five-day week, allow for highly precarious contracts as well as stricter rules on strikes.
Negotiating and campaigning on working time
After pay, working time is core collective bargaining issue but is also an important area of employment regulated by national and European legislation. EPSU has been very active in defending and calling for proper implementation of the Working Time Directive and is involved in current debates on working time. The why and how of working time reduction is a guide produced for EPSU by the European Trade Union Institute and examines long-term trends in working time, the arguments for reducing it and examples of how this has been achieved.
The vida trade union and the Chamber of Doctors have begun negotiations with the church-based hospitals in the Carinthia region to update the collective agreement covering around 1600 workers. The first bargaining round took place on 2 August and negotiations will resume on 29 September. The agreement has not been properly updated for 30 years and the union is pushing for major revisions that will improve pay and conditions and make work in the sector more attractive. The union has set out over 40 areas of potential revision covering working time, leave arrangements, sabbaticals and training
The OSZSP health and social care union has cited official statistics showing a shortage of 3000 nurses across the country to underline its longstanding message that urgent action is needed to recruit and retain health workers. The union further warns that on current trends and without action the shortage could rise to 13000 in five years’ time. The union makes clear that excessive workloads and long hours are key factors in deterring young people from joining health professions and that the government’s proposal to increase overtime limits will only add to the problem, while threatening the
The OSZSP health and care workers’ union has joined with the LOK-SČL doctors’ union in condemning government proposals to extend the limits on overtime for health workers. The government claims this is needed to ensure staffing levels in small facilities. The unions, however, criticise the government for failing to take any measures to tackle the staffing crisis and for increasing the risk of burnout and ill-health in a workforce that is already suffering from long working hours. The unions also fear that many health workers would be vulnerable to pressure to work the extra hours and they
After six months of negotiations, workers in church-run elderly care and nursing homes will get an 8% pay increase, along with a cost-of-living bonus of €1500 and a one-hour reduction in weekly working hours to 39 hours. The agreement covers around 3600 employees and the new monthly minimum wage will be set at €1850.76. The 8% increase translates into a 10.65% increase once the one-hour cut is taken into account. The vida trade union negotiated the agreement which it sees as bringing the church-based employer more in line with other collective agreements in the sector although it argues that
The younion trade union reports that a trade union-backed petition calling for better pay and conditions in healthcare has been blocked by a parliamentary committee. The citizens' initiative, supported by over 70,000 signatories, called for action on the major problems facing the sector, including a demand for more training and better pay for trainees, a national assessment of staffing needs and recognition of nursing as an arduous occupation. The parliamentary committee on petitions and citizens' initiatives decided no further action would be taken in response to the petition, despite the
European Commission reports on the Working Time Directive, published on 15 March, reveal that Member States’ legislation is generally compliant, but that some problems remain in ensuring that the legislation is having full effect, particularly across all public services.
Nurses in Portugal have been involved in strike action in both private and public sectors. The SEP trade union organised a one-day strike on 16 March over pay, hours and other conditions in the private sector and it joined a larger strike across public services on 17 March with similar demands and involving other public service trade unions, including STAL.
After seven years with no update to the main public sector framework agreement the Histradut trade union organisation reports that negotiations have delivered a salary increase of 11% over the next four years up to April 2027 along with a lump sum of NIS 6,000 (€1575) designed to help cope with the cost of living. Workers will get a two-hour cut in working week from 42 to 41 hours in June 2023 and from 41 to 40 hours in January 2025. There will also be special salary adjustments for a range of occupations, particularly in health and social care. Meanwhile, the union has negotiated an agreement
The HK Kommunal trade union reports that there are now new initiatives or experiments around working time in one in five municipalities. From the focus on working time flexibility to testing of the four-day work, there is an increased willingness, particularly since the pandemic, to move away from the more fixed and traditional patterns of work. The union stresses that any such change or experiment needs to be negotiated at local level and within the framework of the national agreement. HK Kommunal says that employee concerns need to be addressed and full consideration taken of the potential
The SEP nurses’ union has called for a day of strike action on 16 March in the private hospitals that are part of the APHP employers’ organisation. The main demands include a 35-hour week for all, a pay increase of 10% and similar increases on allowances, 25 days’ paid leave a year, improved unsocial hours payments and a higher meal allowance. Public sector unions in the Frente Comum are also continuing their campaign for better pay with a strike in public administration on 17 March and national demonstration on the 18th.