Fighting privatisation and defending public services
Across Europe the quantity and quality of our public services and the pay and conditions of our members are under threat from privatisation. EPSU is committed to fighting privatisation in any of its forms whether contracting-out and sub-contracting, public-private partnerships or various processes of commercialisation or marketisation. This briefing on privatisation was produced for the EPSU Congress in 2019 and covers the main work done over the last Congress period and the priorities for the current period.
Public and private sector efficiency is an important report that provides a comprehensive overview of academic research that challenges the idea that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector. The future is public is the latest update on insourcing highlighting the trends to bring privatised services back under public ownership and control.
Trade unions Fagforbundet, NTL and Creo working with the LO confederation are in negotiations over a pension scheme for the culture sector. This follows last year’s strike where the unions achieved a commitment from the employers for a hybrid scheme that ensured payments for life and equal treatment of men and women. The main sticking point is that the Spekter employers’ organisation is talking about a defined contribution scheme but the unions argue that this will make it impossible to determine what individuals will actually get at retirement. The negotiations will form part of the spring
The Kommunal municipal services union has published an updated version of its regular report comparing pay and conditions in public and private elder care. The data comes from official statistics and the union’s survey of members. The latest figures show that full-time employees in municipally run elderly care earn an average of SEK 2,400 (€230) more per month than those in private elderly care providers. In 2020, the share of part-time employees was 70% among private providers, compared to 54% in municipally run elderly care and for temporary workers it was 41% in private companies and 31% in
The Kommunal municipal workers’ union reports that local government workers will get significant new benefits from agreements signed with the SKR and Sobona employer organisations. There will be access to more skills support and student grants to improve professional development, a substantial increase in the occupational pension and greater security for fixed-term employees who will be entitled to transfer to a permanent contract after one year rather than 18 months. A new pension agreement will apply from 1 January 2023 and Kommunal estimates that an increase in the provision of 1.5% will
On 3 September, employees in the opera, theatre and orchestras sector went on strike to demand a pension scheme that works equally for women and men and lasts a lifetime. On September 8, the strike escalated further and then more workers joined the strike after an unsuccessful mediation on 30 September. Another escalation occurred on 18 October before the dispute was finally resolved on 25 October. A new hybrid pension scheme will now be introduced ensuring equal treatment of men and women. In the employers’ original offer women would have lost out by as much as NOK 1000 (€100) a month and NOK
The GMB energy and general union declared an end to the long and bitter dispute with British Gas over its aggressive policy of firing and rehiring workers. GMB members voted three to one to accept a new deal. Around 7,000 British Gas engineers staged 44 days of strike action after the company threatened to sack them if they didn’t sign up to detrimental changes to their terms and conditions. The new deal offers improvements to overtime rates and unsocial hours payments, places limits on the amount of unsocial working undertaken, reverses the decision to close the defined benefit pension scheme
Poor treatment of employees, outdated equipment and low quality of services – outsourcing and privatisation of municipal services has similar negative effects whether it takes place in Poland or Norway.
Public sector unions have negotiated a wage settlement with the Virke employers’ organisation that includes private and non-profit companies delivering public services. The deal is in line with the settlement in the government sector, with a 2.7% pay increase but with a flat rate payment of NOK 1,500 (EUR 145) at all salary levels, backdated to 1 May. In addition, there is NOK 4,000 (EUR 390) for the lower paid and an equal pay supplement starting at NOK 3,800 (EUR 370) and falling by NOK 200 (EUR 20) for each move up the salary scale. A further 1.8% is set aside for local negotiations, with
In the wake of the global financial crisis, neoliberal restructuring has continued unabated across Europe, with the privatisation of public services a key element of both national austerity policies, and European Union (EU) – level economic governance structures.
After a final, lengthy round of bargaining, the cross-sector negotiations covering the private sector ended in the early hours of 8 June. The three trade union confederations are in the process of consulting with their members on the outcome. The main development is the proposed increase in the minimum wage – the first since 2008 – which will see an increase in the monthly amount from EUR 1625.72 to EUR 1702 in April 2022. There will be further increases in 2024 and 2026 which along with changes to taxation will mean net increases of EUR 100 and EUR 150. The deal also includes some