The ver.di services union has set out a range of demands to improve pay and working conditions in the promedica/Falck private ambulance service. Following a consultation with members and comparison with provisions in the public sector the union will be looking for improvements in basic (cut to 39 hours a week) and average (cut 44 hours a week) working time as well as higher overtime, night and shift allowances. The claim will also include a demand for 30 days’ annual leave from the first year of employment and up to six days’ additional leave for unsocial hours work. Ver.di had wanted to start
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 SINTAP public service trade union has negotiated a new collective agreement with the Inova company that provides waste, water and other municipal services in Cantanhede in the Coimbra district. The union highlights in particular the progressive reduction of working hours in 2022 and 2023 to 35 a week; changes to the timing of night work; additional holiday entitlement – an extra day for each 10 years of service and general increase in annual leave to 25 by 2023. There will also be increases to meal and other allowances as well as higher pay. In contrast, the STAL local government union
The GPA private services union is calling for the adoption of a four-day week across its sectors and will raise this in the upcoming autumn bargaining round. Noting the success of the four-day week in Iceland and the establishment of the right to a four-day week in the retail sector in Austria, the GPA argues that the employers need to see the positive impact on productivity, while workers will get the benefit of better work-life balance. The union also underlines the potential for the four-day week to impact on climate change through its effect on commuting patterns.
Local government union HK Kommunal has welcomed the decision by Solrød Municipality, south west of Copenhagen, to give their employees in administration the opportunity work a four-day week. Workers will have the choice whether they want to show up at the office, work from home or take a full day off. The only requirement is that they still have a working week of 37 hours. The municipality argues that it will help recruit and retain competent staff. The scheme starts from 1 September and will run over the next two years. The initiative follows that of the Odsherred Municipality, north west of
The CNE/CSC trade union has strongly criticised health sector employers for failing to sign five key collective agreements to improve working conditions. The agreements have been negotiated following the major social agreement signed last year which allocated more than EUR 1 billion to the sector. A new salary structure has been in place since 1 July in the federal health sectors and many health staff have seen a significant increase in pay, some over 10%. However, the employers have since failed to sign agreements covering stabilisation of work schedules and employment contracts (including
Health unions believe that a new agreement on flexible working will help create a better work-life balance for many employees and improve recruitment. However, they also underline the importance of increasing staffing levels to ensure that the agreement can be fully implemented. The new contractual terms will allow staff to: request flexible working from the start of their employment (removing the requirement to have six months’ service); make an unlimited number of applications for flexible working, instead of just one a year; submit applications without having to justify requests or provide
Municipal workers’ union Kommunal has welcomed new provisions in the crisis agreement negotiated with local and regional government employers. The agreement can be activated temporarily by the employers and was originally developed to deal with large forest fires but has been extended to any major crises such as floods, fires, electricity supply cuts or pandemics. The new agreement applies from 1 July and now limits how long an individual can be assigned to the agreement to ensure a proper recovery period. The main changes include: an employer may only activate the agreement if there is a need
The Fórsa public service union is urging its members to back the four-day week campaign by signing up to a global petition to encourage employers to pilot a four-day working week. The initiative seeks to identify and recruit employers to trial a shorter working week without loss of pay or productivity. The aim will be to reach out to employers identified with significant employee support and encourage them to join the global pilot in 2022. Participating employers will receive the support of experts from the four-day week organisation and university researchers from Harvard, Oxford and Boston
The ADEDY and GSEE public and private sector trade union confederations have continued their campaign to stop major changes to labour legislation. They are concerned that plans to deregulate the labour market will put the eight-hour day at risk and other measures will weaken the labour inspectorate. ADEDY reported high levels of support for its 24-hour strike on 16 June following earlier 24-hour action on 10 June. The GSEE followed up its 24-hour strike on 10 June with a four-hour action on the 16th.
Additional unpaid working time introduced as an austerity measure eight years ago continues to be a drain on morale and productivity across the civil and public service. That’s according to a report by the public service committee of the ICTU confederation. The report says the additional hours fall hardest on women, and are counterproductive in terms of service delivery and productivity. They remain “a deep and primary industrial relations grievance” among public servants, it says. In particular, the report argues not only that It has never been correct to assume that increased working time
The GSEE and ADEDY private and public sector trade union confederations organised a 24-hour general strike on 10 June in protest at draft legislation on labour law changes. The confederations are particularly concerned that the new law will allow individual worker contracts that will undermine the eight-hour day and increase overtime. They are also protesting over further attacks on the right to strike and the weakening of the labour inspectorate. EPSU sent a solidarity message. Meanwhile, the OME-EYDAP water trade union has been mobilising to resist job cuts and other threats to pay and
Trade unions and employers have put forward a joint proposal to government for legislation to provide greater protection for precarious workers. If adopted, this will outlaw zero-hours contracts with all workers entitled to a minimum level of working hours each month. It will also aim to close any loopholes to ensure that all workers who’ve been on temporary contracts for three years will be offered a permanent contract. Further provisions include allowing temporary contracts only when required by illness or surges in demand and greater protection for temporary workers against dismissal. The
Public services union Fórsa has written to the chief executives of all local authorities to ask them to engage with four-day week pilot programmes. This is the latest move in the union’s campaign for reduced working time without loss of pay or productivity. Fórsa is part of a coalition of employers, unions, environmental and women’s campaign groups, which is calling for a gradual, steady and managed transition to a shorter working week in all sectors of the economy. The union will also be talking to the government about support for the initiative and is hoping to involve public and private
A new agreement between unions, employers and the Flemish government has delivered a range of benefits for workers in various health and social services in the non-profit sector. Overall, there will be the equivalent of 3,716 new posts to help tackle high workloads. There will be a general 1.7% increase in wages but with some additional increases for those on the lowest pay rates and those will long service. In elderly care, the rehabilitation sector, psychiatric care homes and sheltered living initiatives, there will be a new pay structure from 1 July 2021, bringing pay rates in alignment
A survey of the membership of the SEKO trade union in the energy sector reveals that the working environment has deteriorated in the years since deregulation. It found problems with, among other things, risks of working alone, stress and increasing overtime. The survey identified differences between those directly employed by energy companies and those working for construction companies where 54% believe that their work environment is negatively affected by the current procurement system, compared with 34% of those who are employed by a plant owner. Furthermore, in construction companies, 42%