(October 2016) Public service union JHL has written to local authority members across the country warning of many of the problems created by outsourcing. It quotes survey evidence indicating threats to service quality coming from cuts to jobs and working time as well as trends towards using less skilled staff. While noting that over 100 municipalities have brought services back in-house, JHL says there is still a trend towards outsourcing which, in healthcare, is now dominated by a small number of big companies.
Equality, Local government, Finland, Croatia
(March 2017) Public services union JHL is calling for an extra pay increase for sectors dominated by women. The union chair Päivi Niemi-Laine said:"We need a separate round on top of the general increase. Women-dominated sectors have been kept in check and now we have to ensure that purchasing power remains strong in women-led fields." The union argues that action needs to be taken to address the persistent gender pay gap and that public salaries are being effectively cut by a decision to reduce holiday pay as part of the competitiveness deal negotiated last year.
Trade unions representing over 430,000 municipal workers have come together to call for a significant pay rise for their members. The unions argue that public sector workers were negatively affected by the competitiveness pact agreed in 2016 with cuts to holiday entitlement. The sector has also seen massive cuts, including job losses, and that a pay freeze would be totally unacceptable. The unions argue that a pay rise is necessary and would mean a major boost for the economy.
The JHL public sector union is preparing for the upcoming round of collective bargaining by surveying members and activists over the key elements for negotiation across the 60 agreements that it covers, most of which expire in January 2018. This time there will be not be a framework agreement negotiated with employers but the union will be in discussion with other members of the SAK confederation with a view to setting some common demands.
The JHL public services union says that it will aim for a flat-rate rather than a percentage pay rise in the upcoming bargaining round as a step towards closing the pay gap between the low and high paid. Another priority for the union is more control for workers over working time and shift work, seen as crucial to improve well-being at work. JHL will also be looking at initiatives to address the cut in holiday bonus in the public sector and action on zero-hours contracts.
In preparation for the upcoming bargaining round where it will be involved in negotiating around 60 agreements, the JHL public services union has underlined the importance of protecting the purchasing power of public sector workers just as much as those in the private sector. Rejecting a call from employers that public sector union pay demands should be moderate, JHL notes that a number of private sector negotiations have led to pay increases of around 3.2% over two years.
The JHL public services union has called for more action to tackle the gender pay gap, with increased funding and a legislative initiative like the one agreed recently in Iceland. The union says that shops stewards should have broader rights to access payroll data that could help monitor trends in the pay gap. It also proposes measures in schools to address the continuing problem of specific occupations dominated by one gender, something that is getting worse in some occupations according to JHL. It also wants to see increased parental leave specifically for men.
Unions in the municipal sector have negotiated a 26-month agreement that includes a 3.45% pay increase plus compensation for lost holiday entitlement. The pay increase will be implemented in three stages: on 1.5.2018 a general increase of 26 euros for salaries up to EUR 2080 a month and 1.25% above that. There then follows an increase of 1.2% on 1 January 2019 and 1% on 1 April 2019. In January 2019 employees will also get 9.2% of their monthly pay (average EUR 260) as compensation for lost holiday entitlement. In other sectors, including private kindergartens, negotiations have stalled and
The JHL public services union stepped up its industrial action against proposed changes in dismissal rights with a 48-hour strike by around 10000 members who work in cleaning, property maintenance and food service sectors and sports and culture services. The strike is part of widespread trade union industrial action against plans to reduce dismissal protection for workers in small companies. The unions argue that not only is the change unfair, creating two-tier labour law but also threatens to impact women workers more than men. Trade unions are also angry that the government is trying to
Strike action organised by the JHL public services union was instrumental in maintaining the collective agreement covering around 1000 employees of the cleaning and catering company Arkea, owned by the City of Turku. The company had switched to another employers' organisation so that it could sign up to a different and inferior collective agreement. This would have meant employees suffering cuts in pay of 15%-30%. After strike action by the 1000 employees at Arkea, a second strike also involving local transport workers was organised. With the threat of a third strike the company agreed to
With many collective agreements now finalised in the private sector with a going rate of 3.3% over 25 months, attention is shifting to the public sector where unions are looking for higher pay deals for the lower paid and for health and care workers. TEHY and Super, the main unions representing health and social service workers are aiming for an additional 1.8% and a 10-year programme of increases above the average for the technology sector, which is seen as a key benchmark. The unions recognise that additional government funding will be needed to cover the pay increases. They also want a