Remunicipalisation, Precarious employment
Bringing services back in-house
EPSU has consistently argued in favour of direct provision of public services to guarantee the quality of services and the quality of employment for workers delivering those services. Under the heading of remunicipalisation EPSU supports and promotes any initiatives to bring services back in-house where they have been privatised along with moves to have new services run by municipalities and other public authorities. EPSU is part of a network, coordinated by the Transnational Institute that has published research highlighting recent trends in remunicipalisation and insourcing.
The European Parliament (EP) has backed proposals to prevent platform companies from forcing workers into false self-employment and denying them rights to minimum wages, holiday and sick pay, and a secure employment contract. In recent years platform companies have lost a string of court cases over false self-employment, with the latest in the Netherlands where judges ruled “the legal relationship between Uber and these drivers meets all the characteristics of an employment contract.” The EP report supports a rebuttable presumption of an employment relationship for platform companies and
The Fagforbundet public service union is celebrating an important victory in the appeal court for 22 of its members in a case taken against the Stendi (formerly Aleris) care company. The ruling means that the workers were falsely categorised as “consultants” rather than employees and so were denied key employment rights such as holiday and pension entitlement. The union believes that the judgement will have important implications for the private care sector and is urging the NHO employers’ organisation to ensure that its members note the ruling and end the practice of classifying some workers
The CNE/CSC trade union has strongly criticised health sector employers for failing to sign five key collective agreements to improve working conditions. The agreements have been negotiated following the major social agreement signed last year which allocated more than EUR 1 billion to the sector. A new salary structure has been in place since 1 July in the federal health sectors and many health staff have seen a significant increase in pay, some over 10%. However, the employers have since failed to sign agreements covering stabilisation of work schedules and employment contracts (including
The main trade unions in public administration have negotiated a new agreement to tackle the persistent problem of temporary employment. Earlier agreements have indicated a target rate of only 8% of temporary contracts in public administration but the level remains around 30%. The new agreement sets out a range of preventative measures and sanctions on public administration employers to contribute to the reduction of temporary contracts and sets a date of 31 December 2024 for the target to be reached. There will be clear and restrictive criteria for when temporary employment is possible and
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.
Trade unions and employers have put forward a joint proposal to government for legislation to provide greater protection for precarious workers. If adopted, this will outlaw zero-hours contracts with all workers entitled to a minimum level of working hours each month. It will also aim to close any loopholes to ensure that all workers who’ve been on temporary contracts for three years will be offered a permanent contract. Further provisions include allowing temporary contracts only when required by illness or surges in demand and greater protection for temporary workers against dismissal. The
The public service federations in the CCOO and UGT confederations have set out a number of demands on the government to take effective measures solve the persistent problem of temporary employment in the public sector. As long ago as 2017 an agreement was negotiated to get temporary employment below 8% in the follow-up to legal rulings on excessive use of temporary contracts. The unions underline the importance of consolidating temporary staff into permanent positions taking account of their experience. The unions also want to see measures are taken that will ensure permanent reductions in
The Sanitas health union is calling on the government to offer permanent employment to the many medical and auxiliary workers who were taken on to help cope with the pandemic. These workers will see their contracts terminated once the end of the emergency is declared. The union argues that these workers have clearly demonstrated their skills and competences in helping to deal with the crisis with many facing high risks of infection and some even losing their lives to COVID. Sanitas also sees continuing staff shortages as another argument for offering these workers permanent employment.
In February this year, the Supreme Court in the UK ruled that Uber, the driving, and delivery platform, should treat its drivers as workers and not as self-employed. This follows a trend across Europe where courts in several countries have forced digital platforms to revise the employment relationship with the workers providing their services. Platform work is changing the economic and social landscape, revolutionising the way services are delivered while raising major questions about social and labour rights.
Six trade unions are coming together to take strike action over jobs and precarious employment in the public sector in the Basque region. The unions are responding to the failure of the regional government to address public employment and the persistently high levels of temporary contracts across the public sector. Action is planned for 22 April across all the main public services – municipalities, health, education, general administration, justice, public transport, public media and other sectors. The unions want to see the thousands of temporary workers who have been crucial to tackling the
The two main public service federations – FSC-CCOO and FesP-UGT – recently met with the public services minister to underline their concerns about precarious employment and urge action to implement existing agreements to curb the use of temporary contracts. The unions raised issues around staffing levels and the ageing public sector workforce but stressed that job insecurity was a major problem and that the proportion of workers on temporary contracts was still too high and had worsened in the response to the pandemic. The federations also called for action to remove any discrimination in the