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.
Union Rights, Working Time, Restructuring, Training/life-long learning
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
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
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.
Nearly two out of three public employees are satisfied with the shortening of the working week, according to a survey reported by the BSRB public services federation. The results show that satisfaction is much higher among state and local government employees than among employees in other sectors. A total of 64% of civil servants say they are very or rather satisfied with the cut, with about 17% saying they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and about 18% saying they are very or rather dissatisfied. The difference between sectors appears to relate to the different way in which the cuts in
Nearly nine out of 10 workers in Scottish government support the move to a four-day week according to research by the Autonomy think tank. The report’s findings suggest that moving to a four-day week would boost productivity to such an extent that many departments could make the change without having to employ new staff. The research shows a range of benefits for the government, including better retention and recruitment of staff, being seen as a pioneer in setting new working time standards for the Scottish economy; and having a healthier workforce. PCS, the main civil service union, which is
The FNPR trade union confederation has stressed that any move towards a four-day working week has to ensure that pay levels are maintained. The confederation is aware of employers switching to a four- or even three-day week but with similar cuts in wages. However, the confederation believes that there is the need for a debate and for an examination of legislation with the 40-hour working week established in the constitution. The confederation wants to see a debate around changes to working time with the possibility of a 35- or 36-hour working week or changes to work schedules with the option
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 five national trade union confederations sent a solidarity message to the MESZK chamber of healthcare professionals in support of its protest march in Budapest on 31 July. The demonstrators called for pay increases for nurses in line with those already awarded to doctors and argued this was crucial to help stem the migration of nurses to western Europe. Earlier this year the five confederations also came together to file a complaint with the International Labour Organisation over the government’s imposition of new legislation which removes the rights to negotiate and take strike action
Forty-eight countries are now covered in EPSU’s library of factsheets on the right to strike. Information on Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Switzerland, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan was recently added to the EPSU website. Each factsheet sets out the main legal provisions covering strike action, including who can call a strike, procedural requirements and any limitations on the right to take action. There is also a section on international case law. The factsheets were launched jointly with the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) in 2019 with the ETUI coordinating production of factsheets on 34
The ver.di services union has set out a range of demands to improve pay and working conditions in the promedica/Falck private ambulance service. Following a consultation with members and comparison with provisions in the public sector the union will be looking for improvements in basic (cut to 39 hours a week) and average (cut 44 hours a week) working time as well as higher overtime, night and shift allowances. The claim will also include a demand for 30 days’ annual leave from the first year of employment and up to six days’ additional leave for unsocial hours work. Ver.di had wanted to start
The SINTAP public service trade union has negotiated a new collective agreement with the Inova company that provides waste, water and other municipal services in Cantanhede in the Coimbra district. The union highlights in particular the progressive reduction of working hours in 2022 and 2023 to 35 a week; changes to the timing of night work; additional holiday entitlement – an extra day for each 10 years of service and general increase in annual leave to 25 by 2023. There will also be increases to meal and other allowances as well as higher pay. In contrast, the STAL local government union
The GPA private services union is calling for the adoption of a four-day week across its sectors and will raise this in the upcoming autumn bargaining round. Noting the success of the four-day week in Iceland and the establishment of the right to a four-day week in the retail sector in Austria, the GPA argues that the employers need to see the positive impact on productivity, while workers will get the benefit of better work-life balance. The union also underlines the potential for the four-day week to impact on climate change through its effect on commuting patterns.
The STAL municipal union has joined with the FIEQUMETAL industrial union in a series of public “tribunals” to denounce the EGF/Mota&Engil waste and construction company. The unions’ aim is to expose the poverty wages paid by the company and its failure to enter into a proper process of collective bargaining. The joint action started in Coimbra in central Portugal on 12 July, moving on to Guimarães in the north of the country on 20 July with further events planned for 26 July and 2 August. The two unions argue that the company is denying them the right to collective bargaining while maintaining