Services union ver.di has negotiated a collective agreement with the AWO non-profit care provider in Augsburg in Bavaria that includes a 35-hour week without loss of pay for nurses and other workers in the social and educational services provided by the organisation. The union sees this as setting an important example for the rest of the care sector. AWO said it wanted to work with the union to provide concrete solutions to address stressful work and to make care jobs more attractive by improving working conditions. The collective agreement provides for a two-hour reduction in weekly working
Negotiating and campaigning on working time
After pay, working time is core collective bargaining issue but is also an important area of employment regulated by national and European legislation. EPSU has been very active in defending and calling for proper implementation of the Working Time Directive and is involved in current debates on working time. The why and how of working time reduction is a guide produced for EPSU by the European Trade Union Institute and examines long-term trends in working time, the arguments for reducing it and examples of how this has been achieved.
Public services union Fórsa has welcome the government’s decision to accept an independent body’s recommendation for working time to be restored to pre-austerity levels for virtually all public servants from 1 July 2022. The additional working hours were imposed in July 2013, increasing the standard working time of civil and public servants to 39 hours for those who previously worked between 35 and 37 hours, and to 37 hours for those who previously worked 35 hours or less. The hours of those working 39 hours or more per week were unchanged. The independent body said it had taken account of the
The VPOD public services union supported demonstrations in more than 25 towns and cities across the country on 9 April calling for action on working time. The protests focused on the potential environmental benefits of shorter working time along with the positive outcomes in terms of gender equality and workers’ rights. VPOD noted that progress on working time reduction has been limited with average working in Switzerland still closed to 42 hours a week. The union underlined the importance of improving work-life balance and the prospects of having a fairer share of domestic responsibilities if
EPSU organised an online working group on 5 April to bring affiliates up-to-date with developments on the Adequate Minimum Wages Directive and to provide them with background on the 4-day week campaign. Lorenzo Repetti, advisor at the ETUC, indicated some of the key issues that were being covered in the trialogue negotiations on the Directive between the European Commission, Council and Parliament. He noted that some key provisions to strengthen collective bargaining that were supported by the ETUC were being challenged by the Council. Lorenzo reported on positive developments in relation to
The VPOD public services union has reacted positively to the decision by the Zurich regional hospital in Wetzikon to reduce the working week for nurses from 42 to 37.8 hours, with full pay. The initiative runs until the end of 2023 and only applies to nurses who regularly work in the three-shift model, i.e. who also provide night and weekend services. The union launched a charter for health workers in 2019 that called for reduced working hours on full pay as part of a wider range of measures to make substantial improvements to working conditions and improve recruitment and retention. VPOD sees
Public service trade unions Fórsa, SIPTU and INMO have welcomed the decision to pay a €1000 tax-free bonus to all those who worked in clinical, COVID-exposed environments and in a separate development to reduce working time for public service workers to pre-austerity levels. From 1 July this year public servants working full-time will return to the 35-hour week that applied before 2013 when austerity measures were introduced in response to the 2008-09 economic and financial crisis. This decision is also seen as partly in recognition of the efforts made during the pandemic. The government has
The Delta public services union is pleased that the government has come forward with a legislative proposal to make full-time work the norm. The union has been monitoring the situation closely and says that less than 20% of health professional jobs advertised since 2019 have been full-time positions. Delta will look in detail at the draft but says that the main provisions will mean that full-time work is prioritised and that employers will have to provide a justification for offering part-time work and discuss this with elected representatives. The proposals will also mean that extra hours
Childcare workers in the private sector who are covered by pay regulations rather than a collective agreement are getting a 3.2% pay increase following negotiations led by the GPA and vida trade unions. Meanwhile, full-time workers in private health and social care are now entitled to a 37-hour week as of 1 January. This was the result of earlier negotiations by the GPA and vida unions and reflects their long-running campaign to tackle overwork in the sectors. The unions are also determined to continue their efforts to reduce working time with a target of a 35-hour week.
The continuing demands imposed by the COVID pandemic are being addressed by municipal trade unions and employers through a new agreement setting out rules on overtime. The agreement will be applied locally if agreed between the local union and employer and provides for higher overtime rates and limits on overtime hours. Overtime rates are increased to 200% on normal days and 300% on weekends and holidays. The rates also apply to part-time workers above 20 hours a week. The agreement sets a range of daily, weekly and monthly limits to overtime hours.
Trade unions and employer organisations in public services have reviewed the impact of the crisis agreement that was negotiated to regulate pay and conditions of employees working during critical events such as natural disasters, fires and floods, pandemics or acts of terrorism. It covers approximately 1.2 million employees in municipalities, regions and municipal companies, including healthcare, care, school, infrastructure and emergency services. Initially, negotiated following major forest fires, the agreement has also been implemented during the COVID pandemic. The review found it was
A survey by the FOA trade union found that 18% of its members in eldercare who work part-time would like to work longer hours. The union says that if they were to do this this it would effectively mean an additional 2100 jobs in the sector. FOA figures show a very high level of part-time work in the sector but with variations across municipalities. It argues that municipalities like Aalborg where weekly working time is 32 hours on average have clearly begun to address the problem but across the country the average is only 27.5 hours and as low as 25 hours in some municipalities. The FOA
Nearly two out of three public employees are satisfied with the shortening of the working week, according to a survey reported by the BSRB public services federation. The results show that satisfaction is much higher among state and local government employees than among employees in other sectors. A total of 64% of civil servants say they are very or rather satisfied with the cut, with about 17% saying they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and about 18% saying they are very or rather dissatisfied. The difference between sectors appears to relate to the different way in which the cuts in
Nearly nine out of 10 workers in Scottish government support the move to a four-day week according to research by the Autonomy think tank. The report’s findings suggest that moving to a four-day week would boost productivity to such an extent that many departments could make the change without having to employ new staff. The research shows a range of benefits for the government, including better retention and recruitment of staff, being seen as a pioneer in setting new working time standards for the Scottish economy; and having a healthier workforce. PCS, the main civil service union, which is
The FNPR trade union confederation has stressed that any move towards a four-day working week has to ensure that pay levels are maintained. The confederation is aware of employers switching to a four- or even three-day week but with similar cuts in wages. However, the confederation believes that there is the need for a debate and for an examination of legislation with the 40-hour working week established in the constitution. The confederation wants to see a debate around changes to working time with the possibility of a 35- or 36-hour working week or changes to work schedules with the option