The SIPTU trade union has just published findings from a survey of early years professionals showing that 43% of childcare workers are actively seeking another job due to low pay levels in the sector. The findings also show that 90% of workers struggle to make ends meet, 77% have no work sick pay scheme and just 10% receive paid maternity leave from their employer. More than seven in 10 workers have found dealing with COVID stressful while just over nine in 10 would consider leaving the profession in the next five years if there are no improvements in pay and conditions.
Childcare is an important area of social services for EPSU which aims to work together with affiliates, civil society and others to ensure accessible, affordable and quality childcare in Europe. The overwhelmingly female workforce is undervalued and the improving of pay and working conditions across the sector is crucial along with lobbying and campaigning for increased public investment and funding. EPSU has set up a childcare network to enable affiliates that organised in the sector to coordinate and exchange information.
The ver.di trade union has warned of problems being created in childcare institutions because of a lack of clarity and consistency in rules that should apply during the current pandemic. The union says that it isn’t right to leave it up to parents and the local management of childcare facilities to decide on their own rules and this fails to ensure planned approach to address the incidence of the virus among children and the increase in sickness among staff. Ver.di argues that the plan adopted by the city of Bremen provides a good example of what is needed to be negotiated at national level in
The vida and GPA-djp trade unions have negotiated increases for minimum pay rates for workers in private childcare institutions that are not covered by collective agreements. Teachers and staff get a 1.95% while assistants will get a 2% increase. The unions are pleased that the increases are slightly above inflation and the trend in other agreements. Childminders will get a 2.5% rise and will now be entitled to an increase after every two years rather than three.
Members of public services union Fagforbundet are involved in a strike over pay against church employers. Following the failure of mediation, the union had to resort to strike action to prevent employers from reducing starting pay rates for new priests. There is also concern that priests who switch jobs might lose out. The union argues that such a measure would only worsen the current recruitment crisis. Meanwhile, a strike of childcare workers organised by Fagforbundet and Delta was called off at the last minute when the Norlandia group agreed to introduce a pension scheme in line with the
The Fagforbundet and Delta trade unions warn that strike action could follow if mediation doesn’t produce a result in a dispute over pension provision in the Norlandia Group. The unions are fighting for a hybrid pension scheme that would give employees a decent pension for life. This is the kind of scheme that is widely available in most private childcare companies but not Norlandia. The unions underline that the type of scheme they are arguing for particularly benefits women and that an industry standard must be maintained for private childcare companies so that employees' pay, working and
Public service unions Fórsa and SIPTU have called for urgent action to better protect healthcare and childcare staff against the COVID-19 virus. Fórsa says that figures show over 9000 health workers were infected at the beginning of last month and that many are being pushed back to work too quickly by local management in response to increased demand and shortages of staff. Meanwhile, SIPTU has been making a case for a change in a approach in the childcare sector where there is no requirement to wear masks or implement social distancing. The union wants a review of procedures, for staff to be
Public services union younion joined with the GPA-djp and vida private services unions in a protest outside a meeting of the advisory council on early years education. Supported by the ÖGB confederation and Chamber of Labour, the unions expressed their disappointment that they weren't involved in the council which was set to make important recommendations that would affect the 61500 workers in the sector. The unions argue that the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of the sector and are calling for national quality standards, including staffing levels, to be introduced to end the
Along with two other organisations representing health professionals, the vpod/ssp public services union is organising a week of action from 26-31 October demanding better pay and conditions and more staff in healthcare. The action will highlight the long working hours and risks faced by health workers during the pandemic and the long-term need to revaluate jobs in the sector. A series of actions will take place during the week with a national protest planned for Berne on 31 October. Meanwhile the union was also active in a demonstration in Zürich on 26 September calling for better pay and
Trade unions have welcomed the legislation that will see a doubling of the entitlement to paternity leave from 14 to 28 days, including three compulsory days around the time of birth. The measure will be implemented from July 2021. Although unions have been calling for even longer leave, they see this as an important step in the right direction and an important initiative to increase the share of parenting between men and women. Employers cover three days of leave while the rest will be funded by social security and employers will face fines if they deny workers their rights.
The SIPTU union has called on the government to set a budget that includes a guaranteed living wage for all childcare workers along with a sick pay scheme. The living wage is €12.30 an hour while the average wage in the sector is €11.46 and the union argues that higher pay will be important in reducing the 40% staff turnover among childcare workers. SIPTU also points out that 79% of childcare workers don't have a sick pay scheme and this is inhibiting the sector's response to ensuring safe workplaces for both workers and children.
Trade unions, employers and the government have signed a major agreement which sets out a range of measures for the coming two years. These cover green and energy issues as well as plans to increase unemployment benefit and pensions. Health workers dealing with COVID-19 will see a 30% increase on pay for the period August-December this year, around 6000 employees will benefit. There is also additional funding for municipalities to ensure that the collective agreement covering childcare nurses is fully implemented. This will particularly affect workers in small towns guaranteeing that they
The BDDSz childcare workers' union has launched a photo campaign to highlight the failure of many workplaces in the sector to provide appropriate workplace clothing for employees. The union points out that this is a legal duty and all the more important during the current COVID-19 pandemic. According to the union some 40% of institutions are failing to abide by the law, rising to 70% of those involved in child protection.