The SSM trade union federation organised strike action across the public sector on 22 June. With inflation hitting double-figures, the federation is demanding a 2806 denari net (€45.5) increase for public sector workers in line with the increase in the national minimum wage. The union has been negotiating with the government with a view to achieving a pay increase this year had understood that the government would sign a collective agreement including a pay rise and discussions on future increases. However, it then became apparent that the resources to fund the pay rise had not been included
Staffing levels, Strike
Strikes and industrial action
The right to strike is fundamental for trade unions. Although strikes and industrial action are the weapons of last resort, it is crucial that trade unions can use them in the fight to defend workers' rights and get a fair deal from employers. The challenge for many unions, particularly those in the public sector, is that the right to strike is restricted or even completely denied. Information on the right to strike in the public sector is available in 48 country factsheets that cover the main rules and include information on cases that trade unions have taken to the International Labour Organisation and Council of Europe.
Over 1500 employees of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) took part in a one-hour warning strike on 13 June organised by trade unions in the CITUB and Podkrepa confederations. The unions are calling for an increase on the basic salaries of all NHIF employees and the creation of at least 200 new full-time positions to ensure that the service can copes with new demand on the NHIF. The unions estimate that an extra BGN 10 million (€5.1m) is needed to cover these costs and wants to ensure that this is include in the NHIF budget for 2022. NHIF workers are highly qualified specialists
On 15 June the Labour Court in Bonn rejected an application by the local University Hospital to ban strikes being organised by the ver.di trade union. The strike action is part of what has so far been an eight-week campaign in six university hospitals in the North Rhine Westphalia region to secure a new collective agreement that addresses overwork and understaffing. The union wants a deal that covers all professional groups in the hospitals and has rejected an offer by the employers that would only cover nurses involved in direct patient care. Ver.di wants to see shift-specific minimum numbers
The UNISON trade union is planning strike action at the St.Monica Trust care company in Bristol in south west England over threats to sack staff unless they accept a pay cut. The union says that more than 100 staff were told in March that they must accept inferior new contracts – costing them thousands of pounds a year and watering down their sick pay – or be fired. The first strike will take place on 29 June, with further action planned for 2, 5, 10 and 11 July. The company is threatening to cut weekend pay rates for senior care workers by 21%, while other staff are being asked to take a 10%
Services union ver.di has strongly restated its demand for needs-based and binding staffing levels across all hospitals, following the publication of new research revealing a shortfall of up to 50,000 full-time employees in intensive care units. The union argues that this is a huge gap that endangers intensive care as well as the health of professional nurses. The study published by the Hans Böckler Foundation, calculates that in order to comply with the Nursing Staff Lower Limits Ordinance alone, the number of full-time positions would have to rise from 28,000 (as of 2020) to 50,800. If the
The collective agreement covering the municipal sector has now been finalised and runs from 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2025. EPSU affiliates JHL and Jyty report that salaries will increase this month by €46 per month for those on less than €2300 a month and by 2% for salaries above this amount. Allowances will also increase by 2%. A pot of 0.5% will be distributed in October depending on negotiations in September. If the negotiations don’t produce a result the 0.5% will be a general increase for all. Next year and in 2024 wages will increase by at least 1.5% in June with a further 0.4%, allocated
Trade unions in the energy sector are planning strike action on Thursday 2 June over the erosion of purchasing power of their members. In a joint statement, they criticise the employers in the sector for failing to agree a timetable to negotiate and for applying an increase of only 0.3% on the basic national salary in January this year when inflation was already at 4.5%. The unions also highlight the fact that energy sector pay has not kept pace with inflation over many years and they are demanding an immediate increase of 4.5%.
The Super and Tehy health unions are maintaining their ban on overtime and shift changes following their rejection of the proposed deal for health and local government. They continue to press for higher pay increases as essential to help tackle the urgent staff shortages in health and social care. Meanwhile, municipal unions JHL and Jyty are also keeping up their industrial action despite their provisional approval of the agreement. They are pushing for the agreement to be finalised and for the expected payments to be made by the summer, arguing that workers could lose out by over €300 if pay
The Super and Tehy health unions have firmly rejected the settlement proposed by the conciliation committee in the current dispute in local government and health. Meanwhile, the JHL and Jyty municipal services union have endorsed the proposal. The health unions argue that the pay increases on offer are inadequate and simply don’t address the urgent staffing problems in health and social care. The unions are now considering a mass resignation to put pressure on health employers to negotiate a better deal. For local government workers, the three-year pay deal should deliver pay increases of 1.9%
In a long-running and bitter dispute over pay in Coventry, the Unite trade union has just discovered that the local authority has agreed a 12% pay increase for the workers in the private company that is being used to try to break the strike. Meanwhile, Unite members at Rugby Borough Council began strike action on 26 April to get the local authority back to the negotiating table. In Croydon, South London, Unite members employed by Veolia are being balloted for industrial action following the rejection of a 2.5% pay offer. Members of Unite and the GMB, in Manchester called off their action when
Public and private sector health trade unions – younion, GÖD, vida and GPA – are continuing their “health offensive” campaign with rallies across the country on 12 May. The unions, supported by the ÖGB trade union confederation, chamber of workers and Vienna chamber of doctors are calling for major reforms of the health system and urgent measures to improve pay and conditions. The unions argue that better pay and conditions are essential to tackle the staffing shortages that are posing a threat to services and are creating excessive workloads for health workers.
Mediation continues to try to resolve the dispute in the municipal sector where unions JHL and Jyty have planned for more strike action from 3 May if mediation fails to deliver a positive result. As of 28 April, the chair of the conciliation committee said that the two side were still far apart on pay and pay development. Meanwhile the SuPer and Tehy health unions cancelled planned strike action that was due to take place from 20 April, although they are continuing their work-to-rule. The two unions say that they were left with no alternative when the government threatened to introduce
EPSU and industriAll Europe have sent a joint letter to the management of the AB Achema factory in Lithuania protesting at its anti-union activity and failure to resolve a dispute over pay and collective bargaining.
The Tehy and SuPer nurses’ unions have confirmed the dates for the second period of industrial action following the first set of strikes launched on 1 April. The next stage will begin on 20 April and end on 4 May and will affect specialised medical care in 13 hospital districts, with approximately 35,000 nurses on strike. The postponement is to allow the Conciliation Committee sufficient time for mediation. The severe shortage of nurses in areas like elderly care means that this sector will be excluded from the strike as the unions point out that the staffing levels regulated by law are often