USA, Czech Republic
At the end of April the OSSOO state workers’ union issued a strike threat in order to put pressure on the government to negotiate on pay for workers in the Czech labour office. The union said that workers were facing heavily increased workloads as they were dealing with processing of refugees from Ukraine as well as compensation payments to cover for increased energy costs. Strike action was due to take place at the beginning of May but the government agreed to negotiations that are due to start on 25 May.
The Economic Policy Institute in the US has just published research that reveals the impact of declining union density and collective bargaining on wages. It finds, for example, that falling union membership translates to a loss of $1.56 (€1.47) per hour worked for the average worker, the equivalent of $3,250 (€3,070) for a full-time, full-year worker. Meanwhile, the erosion of collective bargaining lowered the median hourly wage also by $1.56 (€1.47), a 7.9% decline (0.2% annually), from 1979 to 2017. An analysis of wage distribution found that declining unionisation had widened inequality
The US government has set out 70 recommendations to encourage collective bargaining and union membership making it easier for many federal employees to join unions and eliminating barriers for union organizers to talk with workers. A report by the administration’s Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, says, “it is our administration’s belief that unions benefit all of us.” The report notes that union households earn up to 20% more than non-union households, with an even greater union advantage for workers with less formal education and workers of colour. The report calls for
The OSSOO trade union representing public service workers has reacted angrily to the announcement that 30,000 civil servants will face a pay freeze this year. The union argues that this fails to recognise the efforts of state workers during the pandemic and the threat to living standards posed by large increases in energy and other costs. OSSOO is also protesting over the failure of the government to engage in any form of negotiation. The union is coordinating open letters from different groups of workers to their relevant minister raising the issue and highlighting the impact of the pay
Civil service unions, including OSSOO representing state workers and those representing health, social care (OSZSP) and cultural workers, signed a new higher-level collective agreement on 4 October. The agreement will run from 1 January to 31 December 2022 with the possibility of an extension for a further year. The agreement covers a range of rights such as paid leave for personal reasons, so-called indisposition leave, and service- and age-related payments as well as invalidity and retirement pensions. The new agreement is not changed much from the previous one with some clarification
The OSZSP health and social care union has revealed widespread problems with the COVID bonuses that should have been paid to staff across health and social care. The union managed to negotiate a range of different additional payments for hospital workers, paramedics, social care staff and other workers in these sectors. For example, healthcare professionals in hospitals can get up to CZK 25000 (EUR 975) a month (maximum CZK 75000, EUR 2920) and other hospital workers up to CZK 10000 (EUR 390) a month (maximum CZK 30000, EUR 1170). However, OSZSP says that workers have rarely got the higher
Following negotiations with the government, the OSZSP health union has won payments of up to CSK 120000 (€4650) for emergency medical staff. These workers weren’t covered by special payment negotiated for other groups of health staff, but the union pointed out that ambulance workers have faced massively increased workloads, with callouts increasing by more than a third, and in many cases the same level and type of work carried out by intensive care staff in hospitals.
The OSZSP health workers’ union and LOK doctors’ union have written a joint letter to the prime minister warning of the continuing crisis in healthcare, particularly in some regional hospitals. The unions say that services are at bursting point in some hospitals not just with the high-level of patients with COVID-19 but also with patients with longer-term symptoms. The unions have also called for additional funding to ensure that all health workers entitled to a COVID-19 bonus get their payments without delay and to avoid a repeat of the problems of payments during the first outbreak. They
The OSZSP health union reports that it has secured a commitment from the government for a 10% pay increase for health and social care workers. However, in discussions with the health ministry the union had to intervene on the state budget to ensure that funding was available to hospitals to cover the pay increase. In contrast, the government is arguing that its changes to income tax rules will increase take-home pay for workers and so it is planning to freeze pay for other public service workers and is even using the change to argue for pay freezes in the private sector.