(January 2017) Workers at the AWE nuclear weapons company are planning two periods of 48-hour strike action in protest at plans to close their defined benefit pension scheme on 31 January and replace it with a defined contributions scheme. The Unite union says that this decision goes against the commitment made to maintain the pension scheme when the AWE was privatised in the early 1990s. The Prospect trade union called off a strike in December on the basis that a process of conciliation would begin.
Electricity, Central government
Following World War (II) and the experience with fascism and nazism, the French people and government wanted to ensure that civil and public servants were not merely to be regarded as workers that blindly obey orders.
(January 2017) The FP CGIL public services federation has analysed employment data to show the impact of job cuts and recruitment freezes. It estimates that there are some 237000 fewer public sector jobs than in 2007 while the health service has seen a fall of 50000 jobs since 2009. The recruitment freeze has also contributed to an ageing workforce with average ages across the public sector over 50 and rising. The union wants to see these issues addressed in collective bargaining with an urgent need to recruit young workers and for action on staffing levels in the health service.The CISL FP
(January 2017) Member of five trade unions organising in the energy sector, CGT, CFDT, FO, CFE-CGC and CFTC, called for strike action on 31 January in protest at the employers' attempt to freeze pay in the sector. The unions say that workers will not pay the price of restructuring in the sector and want immediate negotiations on pay. They also call on the government (the majority shareholder in the major energy companies EDF and ENGIE) to come up with an industrial strategy for the sector. EPSU sent a message of support.
(January 2017) In December forestry workers took to the streets demanding a delay in their forced transfer to the carabinieri police force. The transfer will deny them the right to strike. The government has not only gone ahead and abolished the state forestry service but has failed to respond to formal requests by hundreds of workers to be transferred to other parts of the public administration. The FP CGIL trade union is continuing to defend the workers through campaigning and legal action.
(January 2017) Public sector unions signed a new collective agreement with the government last month providing for a 6% pay rise. The increase will be paid in three instalments - 2% from 1. January,2%1.August and 2% 1.November. This was part of an agreement that pay would increase once the economy grew by at least 2% over two quarters. SDLSN union leader Boris Plesa reported on these developments at the EPSU collective bargaining conference on 10-11 January.
(May 2017) Public service trade unions have had a series of meetings with the new minister of public accounts, Gérald Darminin, with some already unhappy that his remit is not broad responsibility for the public services. The unions have a number of major concerns including the need for a pay rise, particularly for the lowest paid occupations and rejection of the plans to cut 120000 civil service posts. Pensions and other working conditions were also raised in the meetings with the minister indicating that joint meetings with the unions would take place later in the year.
(May 2017) The STAL local government union is calling for an immediate pay increase of 4% (minimum EUR 50) to address the loss of purchasing power of local government workers. The union says that pay levels remain lower than they were in 2010. The union has a number of other demands in including unfreezing career progression. Meanwhile the FNSTFPS civil service federation called a national strike on 26 May with similar demands including a guarantee that all workers in the public service have a right to the 35-hour week.
(May 2017) The UNISON public services union warns of a recruitment crisis in public services if public sector pay restraint is continued. UNISON quotes a new report from the independent Insitute of Fiscal Studies which say that if public sector pay continues to fall compared to pay in the private sector, the public sector will struggle to recruit and retain the workers it needs to deliver public services, and the quality of those services will therefore be at risk.
(May 2017) The ADEDY public sector confederation expressed its thanks to the thousands of workers who joined the general strike and rallies on 17 May. The strike was to express opposition to further austrity measures being put forward as part of the bail-out package being negotiated between the government and the European creditors and International Monetary Fund. The strike was jointly called by the GSEE private sector confederation and supported by the International Trade Union Confederation.
(May 2017) The public sector federations of the CCOO and UGT unions are planning a series of actions in protest at the government's failure to engage in a proper process of collective bargaining in the state administration. The unions want to see a number of major issues addressed including the loss of purchasing power of public employees, the threat to services from job cuts and privatisation and the restoration of other rights reduced as a result of austerity measures. The first action is planned for 1 June with a demonstration outside the directorate of public service.