The INMO nurses' and midwives' union has announced a first day of strike action on 30 January with the possibility that five further 24-hour strikes will follow in February if the dispute over pay and recruitment is not resolved. In the meantime the SIPTU services union is calling the Health and Safety Executive to look at health sector pay in the context of the public sector pay deal and the Forsa public services union reports on the impact of the current pay deal which is delivering lower pension payments for some workers and a 1% pay increase for the lower paid
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.
Employees of the Celenus health company, part of the Orpea multinational, continued their campaign for a collective agreement when they travelled to a protest in Berlin on 11 December where they joined other striking workers from the Charité physiotherapy clinic. The workers at Celenus's rehabilitation clinic in Bad Langensalza in the Thüringen region are involved in long-running strike action in an attempt to secure a collective agreement and better pay. The company has repeatedly refused to negotiate with the ver.di trade union. Action last year was supported by EPSU and its affiliates that
The FES trade union-linked research institute has published a new study on the recent developments in Turkish trade unions. It looks at membership in the six confederations, the legal framework and the attack on the right to strike. Civil service unions face a ban on both collective bargaining and the right to strike. The report includes information on union density and the organising of sub-contracted workers where there have been membership gains.
The Pergam trade union confederation that includes many public sector unions joined the ZSSS confederation in a national demonstration in Ljubljana on 5 December. The protest was called in reaction to employer organisations' attacks on proposals to increase the minimum wage and threats to end sector collective bargaining. The action, taking place outside the head offices of a number of employer organisations, also called for a general pay increase for workers, recognising the problems of low pay and precarious employment.
The International Labour Organisation's (ILO) Global Wage Report 2018-19 finds that wage developments in high-income countries declined from 0.9% to 0.4% from 2016 to 2017. This trend is puzzling for the ILO in the context of a recovery in economic growth and falling unemployment and it argues that wage stagnation is an obstacle to further economic growth and rising living standards. The report also looks at the gender pay gap and using a new way of analysing the difference in men and women's pay finds that the gap has been underestimated in many countries.
The ver.di services union has called on employers of all kinds across the eldercare sector to negotiate a sector agreement. The union argues that this is needed urgently to ensure better pay for eldercare workers and that they all are covered by a sector agreement whether they work for the private for profit, non-profit or public sectors. Ver.di has welcomed steps taken by non-profit welfare organisations to create an employers' organisation and argues that the next step is a sector agreement that will help improve the attractiveness of the sector and tackle staffing shortages. The union's
EPSU has published a report that compares pay developments in the public and private sectors in 44 countries over the period 2003 to 2017. One of the main findings of the report, written by the Labour Research Department, is the greater impact of austerity on public sector pay trends in the European Union compared to countries outside the EU. The survey found 10 states where there was similar pay growth in both the public and private sector before the crisis, but since then the public sector has fallen behind (eight EU states and two outside the EU) and there were four states where public
EPSU affiliates have had a busy year fighting for pay rises and improvements in employment and working and conditions for their members across Europe. A round-up of key developments highlights some of the major conflicts and calls for solidarity, including the public sector pay dispute in Denmark in the spring, the equal pay strike in Glasgow in November and the support built across the Orpea social care multinational for striking workers in Germany. EPSU's collective bargaining newsletter has covered all these and more in its 300+ articles reporting on health, social services, local, regional
To mark the 40th anniversary of Convention No.151, the ILO has published a new paper based on a desk review of social dialogue in public services as well as of the EU social dialogue committees in central governments and in hospitals.
Public sector pay trends were the focus of much debate in the years following the economic and financial crisis. In many cases, European institutions and national governments pushed for pay freezes and pay cuts as part of their strategy to clamp down on public spending. A major survey of public and
Access to quality health, care and education and fairer and better tax, benefit and social protection systems are among some of the positive elements in the European Commission’s 2019 Annual Growth Survey (AGS) that was published on 21 November.
The ZSSS trade union confederation and Pergam public service federation have called a national demonstration in Ljubljana for 5 December with demands to protect and respect collective agreements, for higher pay and an increase in the minimum wage. In the meantime, negotiations continue over pay in the public sector. Three public sector unions look to have settled with the government but as many as 20 other unions are still considering the latest offer. If negotiations break down then the unions are expected to take strike action on 5 December.
The FNV trade union is refusing to sign a new collective agreement covering the ambulance sector arguing that it fails to deliver on pay and jobs. Indeed, the union says that pay rates in the agreement are below those paid by agencies and so the agreement will do nothing to stem the flow of workers out of direct employment in the sector. The FNV organised a petition signed by over 2000 ambulance staff calling for better pay and action on jobs and hours but the head of the ambulance service didn't event meet FNV members to accept the petition. A two-hour work stoppage was organised in the
Prison sector unions have called on the government to immediately restart negotiations over pay following the latest of six days of strike action which have had strong nationwide support from prison workers. The unions began the action following the new socialist-led government's withdrawal of funding for a pay increase. The unions now want to see bargaining restart and have been critical of the authorities for aggressive tactics in the policing of pickets and demonstrations around the country.