Collective bargaining – trends and developments
Collective bargaining is a core activity of trade unions and EPSU’s affiliates negotiate with public service employers at every level. This can range from national public-sector wide bargaining to sector and local negotiations with public sector employers but also private and non-profit providers of public services. EPSU works with the European Trade Union Confederation to try to improve collective bargaining rights for all workers across Europe. We also act as a European information point so that EPSU affiliates are aware of trends in public service negotiations. EPSU’s collective bargaining newsletter provides regular updates on developments across Europe and this briefing gives an overview of the state of play in the main agreements in each country.
The public service federations - FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-FPL- organised a rally in Rome outside the health ministry on 23 May and sent a delegation to talk to the health minister about the continuing dispute in the private health sector. The unions want a resolution to the dispute over the failure of the two employer organisations - ARIS (religious health institutions) and AIOP (private sector hospitals) - to negotiate a new collective agreement for the sector. The last agreement was signed 12 years ago. The unions want the health ministry to put pressure on the employers to negotiate and to
A new analysis covering wage and productivity developments in 25 EU countries indicates that pay for most workers has not risen in line with productivity. The report says that there is still a clear link between wages and productivity in most countries and that the trend has been for the two to be more in alignment in recent years. However, this development has yet to compensate fully for the 25-year period up to 1994 when wages lagged behind productivity.
Local government union STAL and other unions in the public sector Frente Comum took part in a major national demonstration on 10 May as part of their long-running campaign to improve pay and working conditions in the public services and reverse the cuts imposed as part of austerity measures. Along with higher pay and better pensions, the unions want to see clear commitments to improve career progression and action on working time.
EPSU is running a series of training seminars this year and next to provide support for affiliates who are facing up to the challenges of digitalisation. The five regional seminars will be open to all EPSU affiliates with a focus on participants who are involved in collective bargaining. The first seminar will take place in Bucharest on 24-25 September, followed by one in Lisbon on 19-20 November. Further details (in 19 languages) of the training project which is receiving financial support from the European Commission can be found on the EPSU website. The invitations to the first seminar will
Trade unions in local government have given the VNG employers' organisation until 10am on 1 May to respond to their main demands or face action across the sector which employers 160000 workers. After six rounds of bargaining, trade unions broke off negotiations as the VNG failed to come up with any offer close to the unions' demands which include a real pay increase and measures to address workers' health and wellbeing, especially older workers.
The OSZSP health union met the prime minister and health minister on 17 April to raise serious concerns about pay in the sector. The union says that many workers are not being paid special allowances worth CZK 2000-5000 (EUR 80-200). Instead some are getting only CZK 1000-1200 (EUR 40-50) and others nothing at all. The prime minister expressed surprise and asked for details of the hospitals that are failing to pay the correct amounts. The OSZSP also wants action to ensure consistent payment of basic salaries across the sector and raised the continuing problem of low pay in social services. The
On 28 March 2019 EPSU participated, together with its representatives of the two national affiliates from Romania, Sanitas, and Croatia, HSSMS-MT, in the kick-off meeting of the joint HOSPEEM-EPSU project focusing on strengthening social dialogue in the hospital sector that will run in 2019 and 2020.
The 2019 edition of Benchmarking Europe, published by the European Trade Union Institute, reveals the continuing impact of austerity with data showing that workers in eight countries are, on average, worse off in real terms than they were 10 years ago. The eight countries are Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Hungary and the UK. In a further two countries - Finland and Belgium - average wages are at the same level as 10 years ago, taking account of inflation.
The Fagforbundet public services union is working to ensure that its members benefit from provisions in collective agreements - in this case in the municipal sector and covering childcare - that ensure that workers are paid the appropriate wage for their experience and qualifications. Workers can get up to six years of service-related pay if they have been away from work because of caring responsibilities. Migrant workers can also get qualifications and experience from other countries taken into account. The union gives the example of a childcare worker from Lithuania who saw a NOK 104000 (EUR
Four trade union organisations - CGT, FO, FSU and Solidaires - are joining with two student organisations - UNEF and UNL - in a national demonstration and strike action on 19 March focusing on pay, social protection and a range of other key demands. The unions want negotiations across the sectors for a general pay rise along with an increase to the national minimum wage.