(July 2017) Seventeen health sector unions have come together to condemn the government's decision to impose the 1% pay gap for another year. Meanwhile, the firefighters' union has rejected a pay offer of 2% this year and 3% in 2018, saying that it fails to take account of the increasing workloads facing firefighters and workers at the Bank of England could go on strike for the first time in over 50 years unless the employer comes up with a better pay offer by the end of the month.
Migration, Pay settlements, Central government, Firefighters
At least 17 public sector unions are planning to take part in a one-day strike on 24 January to demand an end to austerity and to the retention of the single pay system for all public sector workers. The unions are concerned about pay deals with doctors, public sector directors and senior managers in the state holding company that call into question the single pay structure in the public sector. In the meantime, the firefighters' union has called off action planned for 10 January following government agreement to regrading of 14 posts within the fire service.
The FP CGIL trade union has signed a new collective agreement covering firefighters which has important provisions for a general pay rise, increased overtime pay and increased payments recognising the arduousness of the occupation. With these key pay-related elements agreed, the union says that negotiations will now move on to deal with a wide range of other employment conditions covering health and safety, provisions for firefighters who can no longer manage active service, training, insurance against occupational accidents and diseases as well as the overall organisation of the service.
The Kommunal municipal workers' union has negotiated a new agreement covering part-time firefighters which includes significant improvements in pay and allowances that acknowledge the importance of this group of workers and the massive demands made on them recently as a result of widespread forest fires. There is a 30% increase for those working additional shifts, equivalent to SEK 1475 (EUR 137) a week. There is also extra pay for those on call during summer months and higher pay for longer shifts. There is also 5% addition on the extra payment for their first hour of work.
EPSU and PSI stand in solidarity with their British firefighters’ affiliate, FBU, in its protest against the prosecution of Spanish firefighter Miguel Roldán for rescuing, as a volunteer on a NGO rescue ship, thousands of people from drowning in the Mediterranean sea.
The three main firefighter unions - FP CGIL VVF, FNS CISL and UIL PA VVF - organised a day of protests and strike action on 15 November with a range of demands. They want to see the work of firefighters properly recognised in terms of both pay and social protection. They also want action on health and safety, particularly in relation to the occupational risks and diseases they face. The unions want the government to ensure adequate funding not just for the renewal of the collective agreement but also to boost recruitment. Further action was planned for 21 November.
The FBU firefighters' union has expressed disappointment that the employers' organisation has failed to provide a response to the union's pay claim that was submitted in early June. The union is looking for an immediate and substantial increase in pay to take account of 10 years of pay freezes and below-inflation increases. Meanwhile, the main civil service union, PCS, has launched a campaign on pay with the aim also of securing a pay increase that will begin to restore pay levels after a similar period when pay has been frozen or kept inflation.
The SKVNS trade union has signed a new collective agreement in the municipal sector that will deliver a 5% pay increase, reimbursement of travel-to-work costs on public transport, 100% allowance for work on holidays and extra time off for parents. Meanwhile the SPGS firefighters’ union is planning a 48-hour strike on 30 June in protest at the government’s failure to engage in any proper social dialogue over a period of more than 14 months. The union wants to negotiate a collective agreement but also wants a guarantee that the government will also implement existing commitments.