The JHL public services union has made clear that in the upcoming pay round it will be seeking pay increases for all the workers it represents across public and private sectors. It argues that moderate pay rises in the public services in the past have been part of a strategy to boost economic growth but now these workers need to benefit from that growth. JHL is also concerned to take further steps to close the gender pay gap and argues strongly that decent wage rises are needed to address staffing shortages.
Gender pay gap, Low pay/minimum wages
The ITUC global trade union confederation has noted the significance of the recent award of the Nobel prize for economics to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens. Their key research in the 1990s demonstrated that higher minimum wages do not mean fewer jobs, providing a powerful counter-argument to the often heard claims of employers and many governments about the negative effects of minimum wages. The ITUC argues that this prize is a serious indictment of many economists in that it has taken some 30 years for the facts to be given prominence over a damaging and groundless idea. It added
An ETUC analysis shows that almost three million people low-paid workers across Europe can’t afford to heat their homes. The ETUC estimates that even before expected further increases in energy prices 15% of Europe’s working poor won’t be able to turn on the heating – equivalent to 2,713,578 people across Europe. The analysis also shows that the situation has deteriorated in 10 EU member states over the last decade. With the directive on adequate minimum wages now being discussed in the European Council and Parliament, the ETUC argues that energy price rises make strong EU action on wages even
Some public service federations will be joining their private sector colleagues in a national demonstration on 5 October calling for an increase in salaries and the minimum wage. The unions note that private company profits are surging along with dividends to shareholders while workers are facing higher prices, not least for energy. In the public sector, workers are facing another year of a freeze on the index that determines salary levels with the government again having to adjust the lowest salary levels just to ensure that they don’t fall below the minimum wage.
After 10 weeks of action, the strike coordinated by the DSR nurses’ union was brought to an end by government intervention. This means that a recommendation by the conciliation commission will be imposed even though it had been rejected by a large majority of DSR members. The union argues that the government is deaf to the long-standing demands of nurses over the unfair pay structure in the public sector. Some nurses have continued to take unofficial action despite the imposition of a settlement and the threat of fines if they continue. The union says that the focus now shifts to the work of
The DSR nurses’ union has given notice that it will extend its strike action over pay to more health institutions around the country and it also organised a national demonstration in Copenhagen on 14 August. Members of the union voted to reject the national public sector collective agreement earlier this year because it failed to tackle the longstanding issue of the undervaluing of nursing occupations. The strike began on 14 June and the union has announced five extensions in advance with the latest one planned for 7 September involving a further 281 nurses.
An analysis by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) reveals that workers receiving poverty-level pay are among the 35 million of the poorest Europeans who can’t afford a summer holiday. Overall, 28% of EU citizens can’t afford a one-week holiday away from home – but that rises to 59.5% for people whose income is below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold (60% of the median). The worst situation is in Greece where 88.9% of people living at risk of poverty couldn’t afford a break, followed by Romania (86.8%), Croatia (84.7%), Cyprus (79.2%) and Slovakia (76.1%). The ETUC says that many
On 5 July a group of 13 Romanian trade unionists arrived in Brussels after a four-day rolling protest from Bucharest over the low wages that force many of their fellow citizens to make similar journeys to find decent work. The “Caravan of Social Rights” stopped in Budapest, Vienna, Munich and Luxembourg along the way to stage protests outside Romanian embassies with the support of local trade unions. GDP per capita in Romania is now 72% of the EU average, but Romanian workers’ pay is just 28% of the EU average and the minimum wage is just €281 a month when the cost of living is €572 a month
Following the rejection of the mediation proposal last month, nurses have continued their strike action for higher pay. The DSR nursing union membership voted to reject the public sector deal negotiated earlier this year because it failed to address low pay in the sector. The union has been highlighting recent data to support their case including a fall in applications for nursing education to the lowest level since 2013. The union also found that 5% of nurses had left the profession last month because of low pay and overwork and that pay for overtime had cost employers over DKK 500 million in
Public services union vpod/ssp has welcomed the referendum result which means that the Basel city region will implement a minimum wage of CHF 21 (EUR 19.20) per hour. The regional government will have to implement the result, including in public companies. The vpod says that the region pays some of its employees below the subsistence level, even though it supported the introduction of a minimum wage. The regional government must now start talks with the vpod’s Basel region and other social partners in order to implement the initiative quickly. The union argues that it is not just wages below
The DSR nurses’ union organised industrial action on Saturday 19 June following a two to one membership vote to reject a conciliator's mediation proposal for a new agreement. Earlier this year the DSR membership rejected the main municipal and regional government collective agreement, calling for a higher pay rise for nurses. The conciliation process failed to deliver a result that the membership could endorse and so action involving around 5000 nurses went ahead. The union argues that the health services have been starved of investment and nurses have faced increasing work pressure and
The Eurofound research agency’s overview of minimum wage increases in 2021 finds lower increases than in 2020 but still with six countries in Central and Eastern Europe – Latvia, Slovenia, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Lithuania – increasing rates by over 5%. Increases of 1%-5% were recorded in 11 Member States while rates were frozen in Belgium, Spain, Greece and Estonia. However, the cross-sector negotiations in Belgium recently included a commitment to increase the minimum in stages over the next six years. The median increase this year across Europe at 3% is well below the 8.4% figure for