On 19 January trade unions in the energy sector took further action in their campaign against the “Hercule” restructuring project in EDF, the main energy provider in France. EPSU and industriAll Europe sent a joint letter expressing their support for the unions, arguing that the plans pose a major threat to the company, its workers and the provision of energy as a public service. Meanwhile, unions representing health and social care also continued their protests on 12 and 21 January. A key issue is ensuring that pay increases awarded last year cover all health and social care workers
Health and social care trade unions are taking action in January, following mobilisations at the end of 2020, calling on the government to ensure that its “Ségur de Santé” package of measures applies to all occupations in health and social care and across both public and private sectors. The package included two specific pay increases to be implemented in September last year and this coming March. Unions want to ensure that all workers benefit but they also want to see action in other areas such as recruitment and staffing levels.
On November 26, workers in the French multinational electric utility companies ENGIE and EDF are mobilising to defend the future of their jobs, the public energy sector and to demand the suspension of the companies’ current restructuring projects.
On 26 November, unions in the multinational energy companies ENGIE and EDF mobilised to defend jobs and the public energy sector, demanding the suspension of the companies’ restructuring projects. The unions argue that, if implemented, the plans will endanger both the future of employees and the French energy sector with little consideration of the disastrous social consequences. EPSU sent a message of solidarity for the action. Joint communique (FR)
Three trade unions (CGT, FP-CGIL and PCS) representing workers in cultural services in France, Italy and the UK have come together to highlight the urgent need for action to support the sector and tackle poor pay and employment conditions. They argue that the sector has been particularly hard hit by measures to tackle the pandemic and these have been intensified because of the extent of outsourcing and precarious employment. The unions are calling for a strengthening of public culture services, decent and secure employment conditions and action to stop privatisation and outsourcing. CGT (EN
The national agreement on increased funding for health and social care, including increases to workers' pay has failed to meet all the key trade union demands. The unions are particularly concerned that the so-called " Ségur de Santé" (named after the street in which the Ministry of Health is based) does not ensure that all health and social care workers across the public, private and non-profit sectors will benefit in the same way. There is also continuing frustration that nothing has been done to tackle understaffing, excessive workloads and low pay specifically in social services. This is
Trade unions have welcomed the legislation that will see a doubling of the entitlement to paternity leave from 14 to 28 days, including three compulsory days around the time of birth. The measure will be implemented from July 2021. Although unions have been calling for even longer leave, they see this as an important step in the right direction and an important initiative to increase the share of parenting between men and women. Employers cover three days of leave while the rest will be funded by social security and employers will face fines if they deny workers their rights.
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread use of short-time working in response has rekindled the debate about permanent shifts to shorter working hours. Germany's biggest engineering union, IG Metall, has put forward ideas about a move to a 32-hour week and this had been taken up by the CGT trade union confederation in France which has had a 32-hour-week policy for some time. In the UK, the Autonomy research organisation has proposed and costed a plan for the public sector to take the lead and move to a 32-hour week without loss of pay.
Health and social care unions have reacted differently to the government's €7.5 billion package on pay and jobs. The CFDT has welcomed the proposals that it says will mean a €90 net increase a month for most health workers from September with a further €93 increase from March 2021. On top of this a working group will be set up to look at revaluating pay for certain occupations which will be implemented in January 2022. The lowest paid workers in the sector, currently on the minimum wage should see their pay increase by 15%. Around 8000 jobs will be created and 7300 vacancies filled. The FO
Trade unions organising in the health and social care sectors took to the streets again on 30 June as part of their long-running campaign to secure increased public funding, more jobs and better pay and conditions for workers in both public and private sectors, improved training, an end to closures of facilities. A further day of action is planned for 14 July. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Health and social care workers took part in over 250 demonstrations across the country on 16 June in a major mobilisation by trade unions and campaigning groups. An estimated 80000 joined the main protest in Paris. Although partly in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis, the mobilisation is part of a long-running campaign by trade unions to secure increased health funding, better pay and conditions for workers, increased staffing and a block on closures and privatisation.