Social Services, Remunicipalisation
Bringing services back in-house
EPSU has consistently argued in favour of direct provision of public services to guarantee the quality of services and the quality of employment for workers delivering those services. Under the heading of remunicipalisation EPSU supports and promotes any initiatives to bring services back in-house where they have been privatised along with moves to have new services run by municipalities and other public authorities. EPSU is part of a network, coordinated by the Transnational Institute that has published research highlighting recent trends in remunicipalisation and insourcing.
A new agreement between unions, employers and the Flemish government has delivered a range of benefits for workers in various health and social services in the non-profit sector. Overall, there will be the equivalent of 3,716 new posts to help tackle high workloads. There will be a general 1.7% increase in wages but with some additional increases for those on the lowest pay rates and those will long service. In elderly care, the rehabilitation sector, psychiatric care homes and sheltered living initiatives, there will be a new pay structure from 1 July 2021, bringing pay rates in alignment
Trade unions, including CCOO and UGT, involved in national social dialogue in the dependent care sector have welcomed the government’s commitment to increase funding for the system by EUR 600 million in 2021. There is a further commitment to maintain the same amounts of annual investment in the coming years until reaching an increase of EUR 1800 million euros during the current parliament. The additional funding should help improve the quality of the service as well as the quality of employment. The unions note in particular the longstanding problems related to inadequate career development
Public services union Fórsa has asked the government to open negotiations over an agreement on remote working. The union notes that there have been some positive outcomes from the recent increase in telework as a result of the pandemic, but an agreement is needed to regulate what could be a long-term shift in the organisation of work across the public sector. Fórsa has set out some key elements for the agreement which include, among others: agreed guidelines for identifying functions that can be performed remotely; fair access and the right to request remote work; right to decline remote work
Caritas, the church-based care provider, has rejected the proposal to extend a new collective agreement to the whole of the eldercare sector which employs over 1 million workers. The agreement was recently negotiated between the ver.di services union and the BVAP eldercare employers’ organisation (see EPSU Collective Bargaining News February 2021 No.4) and sets a range of minimum standards for pay and leave. It means pay increases of 25% for some workers by 2023. Ver.di and the BVAP applied to the labour ministry for the agreement to be declared generally binding for the whole sector and this
Four health unions are planning a day of strikes and protests on 8 April in their continuing campaign to ensure that the pay rises agreed in the “Ségur” package negotiated last year are extended to all workers in health and social care. The unions argue that there are still large numbers of public sector employees, around 300,000 in the private non-profit sector and some 250,000 home care workers who have not been guaranteed a EUR 183 pay increase. They are calling on the government to open negotiations immediately to address this issue and tackle the long-standing problem of declining working
Public sector unions remain angry that the government has not only failed to implement a pay rise that was set in legislation last year but also refused to engage in social dialogue. This anger has been further fed by anti-union comments from the prime minister who has challenged the independence of public sector unions, their right to collect dues by check-off and their right to protest. Unions are considering further protests. EPSU has sent letters of protest to the prime minister and raised the issue with the European Commission as the behaviour of the Romanian government clearly flies in
EPSU Standing Committee on Health and Social Services discussed how to better support health workers during the pandemic and making the COVID- 19 vaccine a public good
On the 11 March 2021 members of the EPSU Standing Committee on Health and Social Services met for the first time this year to discuss the situation in the sector at the national and the EU level.
Public sector unions have been active in protests against the government’s refusal to abide by legislation and implement a pay increase for public sector workers. They are also challenging the government for its failure to agree to any social dialogue with the unions and are concerned about possible cuts to bonuses and holiday allowances. Health workers took action in January and other public service workers continued the protests through February and are now considering what further action to take. The Publisind federation that includes the SNPP police and prison officers’ union have also
A new study of the impact of the pandemic in social care in eight countries reveals the problems faced by social care workers and the extent to which trade union action has helped to address issues around personal protective equipment (PPE), sick pay, working time and understaffing. There has been a shortage of PPE in all countries, but it was only in Sweden that a trade union had to take legal action for its members' right to use personal protective equipment. Increased overtime was a challenge in all countries but with split shifts being a particular problem in Sweden. The pandemic exposed