(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.
Collective Bargaining, Migration, Central government, Firefighters
Eight years on since the renewal of the last collective agreement, the Ministry of Public Administration has confirmed the timetable for negotiations over firefighters' pay and conditions. The FP CGIL union is looking for a pay increase to recognise the professional responsibilities of firefighters with a minimum €80 a month as agreed in the initial public sector pay talks last year. The union will also be looking for improvements in pensions and ways of dealing with accidents and occupational diseases.
Firefighters in the FP CGIL public services federation have called a demonstration outside parliament on 17 October. The aim of the protest is to underline the union's pay claim in the current round of collective bargaining as well as to call for action on a number of other issues including recruitment, pensions and funding.
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.
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 newly published Guide for Trade Unionists on Adaptation to Climate Change and the world of work identifies public utilities and emergency and other public services as two of the sectors in the EU to be most impacted by climate change.