The LVSADA health workers’ union organised two further warning strikes on 27 and 28 September following an initial action on 27 July. The union is pressing the government to agree to pay increases for all health workers in recognition of the work they continue to do under difficult circumstances. LVSADA says that both the European Commission and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have acknowledged the need for action, including improvements to pay, to help tackle staff shortages. The union is angry that the government has unilaterally put forward a new pay system which
Strikes and industrial action
The right to strike is fundamental for trade unions. Although strikes and industrial action are the weapons of last resort, it is crucial that trade unions can use them in the fight to defend workers' rights and get a fair deal from employers. The challenge for many unions, particularly those in the public sector, is that the right to strike is restricted or even completely denied. Information on the right to strike in the public sector is available in 48 country factsheets that cover the main rules and include information on cases that trade unions have taken to the International Labour Organisation and Council of Europe.
The TEHY and SuPer nurses’ trade unions have condemned the new law that imposes tougher requirements on industrial action in the care sector. Despite the law, further action as part of the unions’ continuing campaign to secure higher pay took place on 27 September and the unions are determined to pursue their claims with SuPer considering declaring mass resignations in home care. The unions also point out that existing legislation already regulated strike action and so the new law imposes a further burden that targets the care sector specifically. They also argue that, in contrast to the rules
Members of the public services unions Fórsa, SIPTU and INMO were involved in industrial action on 21-23 September as part of the ICTU confederation’s “Valuing Care, Valuing Community” campaign. The unions are pushing for better pay and conditions and increased staffing in non-profit providers of health and social care. They argue that workers in the sector have seen their pay fall relatively to directly employed public sector workers who carry out the same or similar jobs. This is having a major impact on the non-profit sector’s ability to recruit and retain staff.
The ADEDY civil service and GSEE private sector confederations have called for a national strike and demonstrations on 9 November over the cost-of-living crisis. ADEDY says that nothing has been done to reverse the pay cuts imposed on public sector workers as part of austerity measures 12 years ago and the government has not proposed any pay rise for civil servants for 2023 despite inflation reaching 11%. Along with its demands on pay, the confederation wants to see a boost to health funding and commitment to increase health and public service employment. Meanwhile, the GSEE is calling for an
Trade unions in several sectors have planned action this autumn over jobs, pay and pensions. The CGT has called for protests and strikes across France on 29 September in response to the cost-of-living crisis with calls to increase pay, a minimum wage of €2000 a month and moves towards a 32-hour working week. Meanwhile, energy unions, including FNME-CGT, FO-FNEM and CFE Énergies have rejected the latest pay offer from the electricity employers and are planning action on 6 October. In the care sector, FO mobilised workers in residential elderly care on 27 September to demand recognition of
The FBU firefighters’ union is the latest public service union to consider industrial action over pay. The union has rejected a 2% pay offer and is now consulting its membership over a possible national ballot on strike action. Workers in universities, including non-teaching staff, began strike action on 20 September, having rejected a 3% pay offer and calling for a pay rise to match inflation. In the health service, the RCN nursing union has postponed its historic ballot on industrial action to run from 6 October to 2 November while in central government the PCS’s ballot for industrial action
The Tehy and SuPer nurses’ unions have responded angrily to plans by the government for legislation that would effectively ban strike action in health and social care. The unions are in dispute with the municipal employers who have rejected a proposal for a five-year strategy to increase pay and tackle the staffing shortage in the sector. In response, Tehy and SuPer have been running a campaign of industrial action and recently announced targeted strike action around the country. Rather than intervene and discuss with employers and trade unions how to resolve the dispute the government is
Unions representing local government workers in Scotland – UNISON, Unite and GMB – have suspended strike action while they consult members over an improved pay offer from the employers. The three unions are recommending acceptance of a deal that would provide a £2000 (€2310) annual pay rise for the lowest paid; £1,925 (€2225) for those earning between £20,500-£39,000 (€23700-€45000); a 5% increase for those earning between £39,000-£60,000 (€45000-€69360); and a maximum increase of £3000 (€3470) for the highest paid. The pay increases will be based on a 36-hour rather than 37-hour week and are
EPSU has sent a message of solidarity to nurses' unions in Finland in the face of the government’s threat to ban strikes in health and social care. The federation has also written to the Finnish prime minister urging her to withdraw this unacceptable threat to the right to strike.
The government’s offer of a £1,400 (€1620) annual pay increase for health workers has not convinced trade unions. Public services union UNISON has launched a campaign over pay in the health service with a ballot planned for October, while the GMB and Unite trade unions have already begun balloting their members in the health service. The historic ballot over possible strike action by nurses’ union RCN is due to begin on 15 September. Meanwhile, university employees, including non-teaching staff such as cleaners, catering and security workers and library and administration employees
The TEHY and SuPer nurses’ unions are stepping up their campaign of industrial action to secure a better pay offer from the municipal employers. The two unions have maintained an ban on overtime and shift changes since before the summer but have now tightened up those restrictions and also announced a series of strike actions beginning with a one-day stoppage in Kanta-Häme in the South West on 2 September. So far three further strikes – each of four days – have been declared in Turku, Helsinki and Oulu with two running from 6-9 September and the Oulu action running from 13 to 16 September. The
The LVSADA health workers’ union, supported by associations representing doctors and nurses, organised a warning strike and protest on 27 July, arguing that the government had failed to meet commitments to increase pay. The union says that a 10% increase should have been paid on 1 July on the current salaries of €1963 for doctors, €1183 for nurses, midwives and other professionals and €745 for support staff. LVSADA further argues that the government has also failed to meet a commitment from 2017 that would have seen these salaries reach €2327, €1396 and €931 respectively. Depending on the
The STAL municipal service union organised a two-day strike across the FCC Environment waste group on 15-16 August. The union says that the company is refusing to negotiate on pay, claiming that its financial situation prevents it from offering a pay increase to workers. The union says that urgent action is needed to tackle low pay and the impact of inflation and wants to see a minimum monthly increase of €90, along with negotiations on better working conditions and health and safety and a consistent approach across the whole company.
Members of the RCN nursing union in Scotland have voted overwhelmingly to reject a 5% pay offer and a majority has given support to strike action. The union in England and Wales will launch a ballot next month with a similar recommendation from the leadership to reject the pay offer and support industrial action. This opens up the prospect of the first ever UK industrial action by the union. In England and Wales the union’s main pay demand was for a rise of 5% above inflation (currently 11.8%), to combat years of wage stagnation and the cost-of-living crisis. The government has announced an