Public Services, Firefighters, Prisons Services, Economic Policy, U.K., Norway
(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.
Public services union Fagforbundet has welcomed the news that the national Labour and Welfare Administration has recognised prostate cancer as an occupational disease affecting firefighters. The union says that firefighters and lawyers worked on the case for five years in order to convince the authorities to recognise the disease. The union is now calling on firefighters who have been diagnosed with the disease and exposed to fires and toxic substances to come forward for an assessment to see if they quality for compensation.
On 20 August the UK government was forced to take back control of a privatised prison in Birmingham in central England following a damning report by the prisons inspectorate. The prison had been run since 2011 by the G4S group, one of three multinationals that run 14 prisons in England.
The POA prison staff union's call for action by its members on 14 September was widely supported across the country. The union decided on the action following the latest revelations of violence against staff at Bedford prison in south east England which received an "urgent notification" from the Chief Inspector of Prisons who warned of the potential for a complete breakdown in order at the institution. The notification requires a response from the government. The POA has been demanding national action to reduce overcrowding and tackle violence and says that government imposed cuts are behind
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.
Public service union, Fagforbundet, that represents firefighters is taking legal action to try to overturn a decision by the social insurance court that cancer doesn’t quality as an occupational disease. There was a long struggle by firefighters to get occupational injury compensation as a result of being more exposed to certain types of cancer more than other workers. This was achieved in 2016 and several workers have received this compensation. However, a new ruling reverses this decision. The union argues that there is no new knowledge or research to justify any changes. Several recent