After a final, lengthy round of bargaining, the cross-sector negotiations covering the private sector ended in the early hours of 8 June. The three trade union confederations are in the process of consulting with their members on the outcome. The main development is the proposed increase in the minimum wage – the first since 2008 – which will see an increase in the monthly amount from EUR 1625.72 to EUR 1702 in April 2022. There will be further increases in 2024 and 2026 which along with changes to taxation will mean net increases of EUR 100 and EUR 150. The deal also includes some
Strike, Low pay/minimum wages
The GSEE and ADEDY private and public sector trade union confederations organised a 24-hour general strike on 10 June in protest at draft legislation on labour law changes. The confederations are particularly concerned that the new law will allow individual worker contracts that will undermine the eight-hour day and increase overtime. They are also protesting over further attacks on the right to strike and the weakening of the labour inspectorate. EPSU sent a solidarity message. Meanwhile, the OME-EYDAP water trade union has been mobilising to resist job cuts and other threats to pay and
The UNIO trade union confederation whose members cover workers with higher education has been pushing for higher pay deals in three negotiations – national local government, Oslo municipality and public companies represented by the employers’ organisation, Spekter. The NSF nurses’ union is one of UNIO’s members involved in the strikes and negotiations and they are calling for higher pay for nurses to tackle major staff shortages. The government has stepped in to end strikes in local government and the Oslo municipality on the grounds, rejected by the trade unions, that the actions pose a
The ver.di services union has written to MPs calling for urgent improvements to be made to the draft regulations on pay in the eldercare sector put forward jointly by the health and labour ministers. The union argues that in their current form the regulations could allow social dumping through yellow unions signing poor collective agreements with employers. Ver.di has argued that a sector collective agreement is needed and called for its agreement with the BVAP employers’ organisation to be extended to the whole sector. However, the initiative was blocked by the big non-profit employers in the
Workers in half of EU member states are denied the full statutory minimum wage because of their age, occupation or because they are workers with a disability, ETUC research has found. Age is the most common criterion with eight member states deducting up to 70% of the real rate for under-21s. Some member states also allow discrimination against seasonal workers, domestic workers, seafarers or workers with disabilities. The European Commission’s impact assessment of its draft directive on adequate minimum wages states that, rather than facilitating access to the labour market, variations from
A successful legal case backed by the UNISON public services union means that employers will no longer be able to mistreat workers who take part in union-organised workplace disputes. UK law had previously prevented employers from sacking staff, but not from disciplining or making life difficult for them. The employment appeal tribunal (EAT) case was taken by care worker Fiona Mercer against the Alternative Futures Group. She had been involved in a long-running dispute and was disciplined, suspended, and prevented from going into work by her employer. The EAT said that UK law was not compliant
A survey of student early years educators, carried out by the SIPTU trade union, found that one third intended to leave the sector, with low pay the main issue forcing them into a change of career or into working abroad. A massive 94% of students don’t believe the current wages in the sector are fair. Of the 945 people surveyed, over half are currently working in the sector as well as studying and of these 47% are earning below the living wage of €12.30 per hour. The union wants to see a publicly funded model of early years education and childcare which includes a mechanism for ensuring
The main unions in residential care in the Galicia region, UGT, CC.OO. and CIG, have formed a common front to mobilise and put pressure on private nursing home companies, which they accuse of blocking the negotiation of a new collective agreement to replace the one that expired at the end of 2019. The series of mobilizations will end on 19 May with a demonstration outside San Lázaro residence in the Galician capital, run by the DomusVi French care multinational. The unions point out that pay scales mean that effectively some jobs are set below the minimum wage with pay for kitchen assistants
Leading economists from across Europe have expressed their support for an effective directive on adequate minimum wages that would not only deliver higher pay but greater collective bargaining protection for millions of workers. The conclusion of the letter says that: “The proposed Directive is a step in the right direction, but stronger measures are needed to guarantee the respect of the right to collective bargaining for unions to negotiate better pay and conditions for workers and raise statutory minimum wages to a level which ensures at least a decent standard of living. Adequate minimum
Tough bargaining in both the state and municipal sectors have ended up in mediation as employers fail to get close to the unions’ key demands. In the state sector unions were already concerned about the increasing gap between the low and high paid and the prospect of pay increases negotiated mainly at local level were seen as increasing the likelihood that the lower paid would again lose out. Public sector unions support the system where industry settlements set a benchmark and note that last year state workers got 0.5% less than the private sector. However, they also argue that the public
The STAL local government union has called for a national strike on 20 May to support a range of key demands on pay and employment conditions. The union says that local administration workers have not had a decent salary increase for over 10 years, on average seeing an almost 10% loss of purchasing power since 2010. The union is calling for a €90 for all workers and action on career development. It also wants to see the end of the SIADAP performance evaluation system that has led to stagnating salaries for more than 75% of workers. STAL underlines the essential link in providing decent pay and
Negotiations over pay are getting underway in the state and local government sectors with unions seeking to protect their members’ purchasing power and focusing on support for the lower paid. While unions agree that the system where the industrial sector sets the trend for pay bargaining is the right one, negotiations in the public sector need to address how pay trends have affected different occupations. This means there are arguments for a flat-rate increase that will benefit the lower paid, including the often undervalued groups like cleaners who have played a key role in coping with the
Members of the PCS civil service union at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) in Swansea, South Wales, have agreed to take another four days of strike action from 4-7 May. This follows the four-day action on 6-9 April that the union says was strongly supported. PCS is concerned that DVLA management have failed to take action to address safety concerns following very high levels of COVID-19 infections at the site where 4000 workers are employed. The union has also argued about the level of continuing risk involved from allowing 2000 workers to carry on working at the site.
In February this year, the Supreme Court in the UK ruled that Uber, the driving, and delivery platform, should treat its drivers as workers and not as self-employed. This follows a trend across Europe where courts in several countries have forced digital platforms to revise the employment relationship with the workers providing their services. Platform work is changing the economic and social landscape, revolutionising the way services are delivered while raising major questions about social and labour rights.
Nine trade union federations have sent a joint letter to the public services minister calling for immediate pay negotiations. The unions are concerned about the long-term erosion of purchasing power. At the beginning of this year the national minimum wage (SMIC) rose to EUR 10.25 an hour (EUR 1554.58 a month) and this meant pay rates at the bottom of the Category C public sector pay grade fell below the minimum. Instead of increasing the index point on which all public sector salaries are based, the government simply added two index points to these lowest pay rates. The unions point out that