The Kommunal municipal and health services union has set out some of the main demands that it will pursue in the upcoming collective bargaining with municipal employers. The union will aim for a 3% general pay rise with an extra 0.5% to be used at local level for specific groups of vocationally trained workers in health, child and other care. It wants vocationally trained temporary workers to be offered a permanent contract after 12 months and is calling for a number of measures on working time. Among a range of demands, Kommunal wants to ensure full-time work is the norm and argues that the
Negotiating and campaigning on working time
After pay, working time is core collective bargaining issue but is also an important area of employment regulated by national and European legislation. EPSU has been very active in defending and calling for proper implementation of the Working Time Directive and is involved in current debates on working time. The why and how of working time reduction is a guide produced for EPSU by the European Trade Union Institute and examines long-term trends in working time, the arguments for reducing it and examples of how this has been achieved.
The vpod/ssp public services has welcomed two initiatives on working time agreed with the BSH health and social care employers' organisation in the Graubünden/Grisons region. The BSH has agreed to the demand for time taken to change into and out of work clothes to be recorded as working time. This is a key demand in a national campaign being run by the union. Ten minutes a day is allocated to changing clothes but this may be adjusted depending on the outcome of a legal case in the Zürich region. The vpod/ssp also welcomes the decision of BSH to recommend a minimum of 25 days' annual leave to
The HK Kommunal local government union is entering negotiations with the municipality of Esbjerg to discuss moving to a four-day week in the authority's job centre. However, the union is very sceptical about the prospects for the negotiations as it is in the context of the municipality aiming for major cost savings. HK Kommunal clearly states that a four-day week is not about forcing employees to do in four days all that they currently do in five days. The union says that Esbjerg is following the agreement reached in the Odsherred local authority in 2019 but there the focus was not on cost
Trade unions across Europe have been sending messages of solidarity to Ukrainian unions as they step up their campaign against planned reforms of labour law. Proposed legislation would abolish the most important legal and social guarantees for workers and trade unions covering minimum wages, pay and leave for hazardous work, weekly rest periods, overtime pay and limits, restrictions on night work for women, dismissal rights and protection of workers with disabilities. It allows for more flexible contracts, including zero-hours and weakens trade union rights. A national day of action has been
The third round of bargaining in the private health and care sector, covering around 125000 workers, ended without a result. However, the two unions - vida and GPA-djp - are sticking to their main aim of achieving a 35-hour with full compensation in terms of pay and staffing. The unions say there were constructive discussions about a staged implementation of an agreement. They argue that the commitment to shorter hours is vital for the sector to boost recruitment and tackle the long-standing issue of staffing shortages. The unions are planning to convene staff council meetings to report on the
GPA-djp and vida, the two unions that organise workers in private health care, are organising actions around the country in the lead up to the fifth round of negotiations on 10 February. The sector collective agreement covers 125000 workers and the unions want to see a 35-hour week with no compensating reduction in pay. At the fourth round of bargaining the employers refused to discuss the claim and made no offer themselves and so the unions decided to organise actions to show the strength of feeling on the issue.
The vida and GPA-djp private service unions will be coordinating further warning strikes on 26 and 27 February to put pressure on the employers in the negotiations covering 125000 workers in private health and social care. This follows the sixth round of bargaining which ended again without a concrete proposal from the employers. The unions are determined to press on with their central demand of a 35-hour week while maintaining pay and with an appropriate increase in staffing.
The health conference of the vpod public service union has called for action to tackle the stress, long working hours, involuntary part-time work and low pay in the sector which is part of the persistent discrimination faced by women workers. The union wants to see a revaluation of pay of health and care jobs to recognise the arduousness and increased responsibilities of many occupations. Vpod is also calling for major improvements to work-life balance, reductions in working time, better shift planning, possibilities for retirement from 60 and provision of necessary training. The union says
Unions representing nurses and midwives have been in the Labour Court where hearings continue over a new contract. Both the INMO nurses' and midwives' union and the SIPTU general union have strong objections to the government proposals. The unions point out that the working time arrangements would be too rigid for an overwhelmingly female workforce as would reducing shifts to only four hours or requiring nurses and midwives to work up to 45 km away from their normal workplace.
The Marburger Bund (MB) doctors' union organised a warning strike and 5000-strong national demonstration in Frankfurt on 10 April in protest at the failure of the VKA employers' organisation to address the union's key demands on working time. The negotiations cover around 55000 doctors employed in 500 municipal hospitals across the country. MB is calling for a set of clear measures to ensure better working time planning, reduced workloads and more free time. Following the third round of bargaining the union regards the latest employers' offer as just not worth considering. MB is looking for a
The STAL and STML unions representing firefighters organised a protest in Lisbon on 16 April outside the Interior Ministry. The main concerns for the unions are about government proposals to reform the career structure for firefighters and to reduce retirement benefits. Other issues relate to payments for oncall time, 12-hour shifts and implementation of a pay structure that the two unions negotiated with the ministry. The unions have been frustrated by the government's reluctance to negotiate, delaying and then postponing a meeting due on 2 April.
An analysis by the GMB trade union reveals that care workers in the private sector are three times more likely to be on a zero hours contract than those in the public sector. It also finds that employees of private care companies are paid 17% less on average than their public sector counterparts and four in ten leave their job every year. Over 50% per cent of private carers have no relevant social care qualifications, compared with less than 20% in the public sector. The union highlights the underlying problem of underfunding of the sector, an issue which it says is becoming more acute as
Unions organising in state administration in both Spain and Portugal have raised serious concerns about the approach to telework and particularly governments taking the opportunity to regularise arrangements that were only adopted on an emergency basis. While there is recognition of the potential benefits to work-life balance, unions argue that fundamental issues need to be addressed through collective bargaining in relation to working time, the right to disconnect, provision of equipment, health and safety, training, contact with the workplace and the voluntary nature of the decision to
After a lengthy campaign of protests and industrial action, unions have secured an additional €1 billion in funding from the federal government to improve pay and conditions for health workers. €500 million will go towards the implementation of a new pay system and harmonisation of pay in the private and public sectors. Unions estimate this will mean pay increases of 5%-6%. €400 million will cover additional staff to ensure a better staff/patient ratio and 10% of this amount will contribute to improved training. €100 million is allocated to improving working conditions, including in particular