Union Rights, Strike
Thousands of trade unionists took to the streets of Kiev again on 7 October in their long-running campaign against government proposals for labour reforms. The legal changes have been condemned by the international trade union movement and clearly contravene key International Labour Organisation conventions. The demonstration was also used to call for a range of measures including increases to the minimum wage and social benefits.
On 14-15 September the first regional seminar of a two-year project on trade union rights took place with participants from across the Mediterranean region. The project is being run jointly by EPSU and the European federations representing police (EuroCOP) and military personnel (EUROMIL). There were contributions from experts from the ETUC and International Labour Organisation and an exchange on the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive which includes an article providing member states with the possibility of excluding a large group of public service workers from its
Public service trade unionists from across the Mediterranean region met online last week (14-15 September) to discuss the challenges they face in asserting their fundamental rights to organise, negotiate and take strike action.
EPSU is supporting the call by the international and European trade union confederations – ITUC and ETUC – for parliament to suspend the current discussion on labour law reform. The international trade union movement is backing the Ukrainian unions in their long-running campaign to block the reforms and to start a proper process of consultation with trade unions. Analysis of a number of draft laws shows that they are incompatible with International Labour Organisation conventions and EU social legislation, undermining workers’ basic employment rights as well as working time and health and
On 27 August the KESK public services confederation organised a national strike in protest at the collective agreement signed by the government and the Memur Sen trade union. KESK has a range of key demands which the agreement fails to address and is angry that it was shut out of the negotiations. The confederation argues that the pay rises foreseen in the agreement are inadequate to ensure protection against inflation and it doesn’t include any measures to deal with employment security, workplace democracy or the right to proper collective bargaining. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
The International Trade Union Confederation has welcomed the decision by the president of Kyrgyzstan to veto a new law on trade unions. The law was drafted by the Parliament without properly consulting unions or the International Labour Organization (ILO). It flies in the face of core labour standards, including ILO Conventions 87 and 98 covering freedom of association, freedom to organise and the right to collective bargaining. The ITUC says that it is the third time in two years that they have had to ask the president to veto a draft anti-worker law and its now insisting that unions and the
The ver.di services union has welcomed the decision of the Berlin labour court to reject an application for an injunction to block a planned strike in the health sector. Ver.di members at the Vivantes and Charité health providers in Berlin had been waiting 100 days for management to respond to calls to negotiate a collective agreement, planning strike action at the end of August if the employer missed the union’s deadline. The union had established a clear plan to prepare for the strike and the workers that would be involved but had to postpone the action for a day in order to attend the
EPSU calls on Ukrainian parliament and government to address trade union concerns over Labour law reform
The Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkovna Rada, is considering reform of the labour law. Many of its amendments would be regressive for workers’ rights and would not be compatible with international labour standards.
The 2019 Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive introduces a range of new or enhanced rights for millions of workers across Europe. Member States have until August 2022 to transpose the Directive into national legislation and the European Commission has just published its expert group report. This is not binding but covers the points raised in the group by representatives of national governments and other experts. The main issue for EPSU is the provision that gives member states the possibility to exclude certain public service workers from Chapter III of the directive which
The Hungarian government has issued two decrees removing the right to strike from air traffic control staff. An appeal court judgement of 20 July clearly confirmed the union’s legal right to strike. However, six days later the two decrees were published which not only dismiss the decision of the Hungarian Appeal Court but also violate Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) has condemned the Hungarian government and strongly maintains that collective representation and collective bargaining are basic labour rights
The vpod/ssp public services union has launched an initiative to support its local activists in mobilising to win better pay and conditions for health workers across the country. The strike at the CHUV University Hospital in Lausanne was the starting signal for the union’s “Road to Strike” organizing campaign. Vpod/ssp argues that the situation in health establishments has worsened due to the pandemic with many workers facing burnout and leaving the sector. The persistent staffing shortages undermine working conditions and further pressures come from private health companies’ search for profit