Health and social care unions in the Basque region have been involved in a series of protests and strikes. Mobilisations in public health during December and January will culminate in a day of strike action on 28 January. The unions are angry about the failure of the public health system to honour basic rights to information and collective bargaining. They are concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the system and the way that management have responded by taking unilateral decisions on working conditions, health and safety and precarious employment. Two days earlier, on 26 January unions
The FNV trade union is seeking a 5% pay increase from 1 January 2021 for the 7000 workers in the private waste sector. It is also claiming a EUR 500 bonus in recognition of the increased risks that workers have faced during the pandemic. A 5% increase would be worth around EUR 50 gross per month, but the employers have only offered an increase worth EUR 40 gross as of 1 June. They have also only offered a EUR 250 lump sum. There, however, agreement on other issues including pensions and sustainable employment. The union will consider work stoppages if the employers don’t come up with a better
The ver.di trade union has warned of problems being created in childcare institutions because of a lack of clarity and consistency in rules that should apply during the current pandemic. The union says that it isn’t right to leave it up to parents and the local management of childcare facilities to decide on their own rules and this fails to ensure planned approach to address the incidence of the virus among children and the increase in sickness among staff. Ver.di argues that the plan adopted by the city of Bremen provides a good example of what is needed to be negotiated at national level in
Around 9000 employees of British Gas were due to begin a five-day strike from 7 January in protest at the company’s decision to fire all workers and rehire them on worse pay and conditions. British Gas’s parent company Centrica claimed the measures are necessary in response to the impact of the pandemic. However, the GMB trade union, representing engineers and call-centre staff argue that the initiative is excessive particularly in view of the company’s latest reported operating profits. 89% of the union’s members in the company voted for the strike action.
The mobilisation of workers in the EGF waste company on 18 December, reported in the EPSU Collective Bargaining Newsletter last month, was followed up with a 48-hour strike on 28 and 29 December. The action is part of a campaign by the STAL trade union to secure an increase in pay, payment of a supplement for risky and arduous work and a collective agreement. Meanwhile, in the public sector the SINTAP trade union has welcomed the inclusion in the 2021 state budget of provisions to allow for arduous work payments for waste and other workers in local government. However, the government has left
Public services union ver.di reports on a new agreement covering 6000 workers employed by energy companies in the Hesse region in central Germany. The union says that the employers were aiming for an agreement below that negotiated in the public sector but the union resisted this and negotiated a 2.6% pay increase which will be paid in two stages (2.1% in June 2021 and 0.5% in June 2022). The payment for trainees will be increased by EUR 50. In addition, there will be a Corona bonus of EUR 900 for those in pay scales 1-9 and EUR 700 for those in 10-14 while trainees will get EUR 350. The
Public service trade unions have reacted angrily over the government decision to freeze pay for millions of public sector workers, including municipal employees, care workers, civil servants and teachers. Health workers are excluded from the “pay pause” as the chancellor (finance minister) calls it and there will be a GBP 250 (EUR 278) increase for workers paid less than GBP 24000 (EUR 26730) a year. The unions have attacked the decision as a “divide and rule” tactic and argue that many public service workers have yet to see their pay levels recover in real terms after the last bout of
The Fp-Cgil, Cisl-FP, Uil-Fpl and Uil-Pa public service federations are mobilising for the national strike on 9 December. The unions say that years of recruitment freezes have created staff shortages and mean that public services need around 500000 extra workers. The unions are also calling for action to increase permanent employment with around 170000 workers on precarious contracts. Health and safety are also vital with unions wanting action on personal protective equipment, reduced workloads and measures to tackle harassment. Finally, the federations are calling for a renewal of the
The FNV, CNV and NU’91 unions that organise health workers have made a joint call on the government to commit to funding pay increases in 2021. In recent negotiations over the agreement covering University Medical Centres (76000 workers), the employers said there was no room for pay rises unless there was an increase in reimbursement to health insurers. The unions are worried that it will be the same message from employers in the other 10 agreements covering health and social care staff that are due for negotiation in 2021. The unions say that it is vital that the government makes funds
EPSU joined with the ETUC and other European and global trade union organisations in a strong call for action to end violence against and harassment of women. The ETUC called for laws against workplace harassment to be updated to protect women working from home against online abuse made possible by surveillance techniques being used by employers. EPSU outlined the many ways in which the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on women not only as the backbone of health and social care provision across Europe but also often facing the double burden of dealing with extra childcare while working from
The latest global wage report from the International Labour Organisation reveals the main trends in pay and minimum wages, highlighting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of this year. It notes a downward pressure on the level or growth rate of average wages in two thirds of the countries for which recent data are available. In other countries, including France and Italy, average wages increased, largely artificially as a reflection of the substantial job losses among lower-paid workers. The report also shows that women workers and low-paid workers generally have been
EPSU Executive expresses its solidarity with the Italian public service unions strike action 9 December
The EPSU Executive Committee expresses its support for the Italian public services unions that will strike on 9 December to demand recognition for their role and work during the pandemic and for the government to renew the public service workers’ collective agreement that expired more than a year ago.
Increase in fatal cases of COVID-19 among long-term care facility residents in the EU/EEA and the UK
Observed all-cause mortality among older people underlines the severe impact of COVID-19 in this population group. Residents in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are one of the most vulnerable populations, and particular focus should be given to the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 introduction and to
Fourteen trade unions representing staff across the National Health Service have sent a joint letter to the prime minister calling on the government to give all health workers a pay increase before Christmas. The next pay increase was not due until April 2021, but the unions argue that an early increase would help employees “feel valued, by the entire country, and the government too”. They also state in the letter that raising pay this year could persuade staff looking to leave the NHS to change their minds. An early wage boost could also “prove attractive to thousands of much-needed potential