Public service workers across the UK have been involved in number of disputes over pay, jobs and safety. Waste workers in Birmingham and Doncaster are taking or planning action over pay and safety while cleaners at four hospitals in East London are continuting their campaign for a higher pay increase against outsourcing company Serco. Meanwhile in Sheffield members of the PCS civil service union are taking strike action in protest at the closure of a local Job Centre, part of a campaign against government proposals for closures across the country. Finally, janitors in schools across Glasgow
Pensions/retirement, Central government
The SGB trade union confederation and the vpod public services union have called for a general wage increase of between 1.5% and 2.0%. But the vpod also highlights the need to address the fall in real pay in the public services as well as the importance of ensuring higher pay for jobs dominated by women. Meanwhile the federal court has thrown out a challenge to a proposed minimum wage in the Neuenberg Canton, opening the way to implementation of an hourly minimum of CHFr 20 (€17.50).
Eight years on since the renewal of the last collective agreement, the Ministry of Public Administration has confirmed the timetable for negotiations over firefighters' pay and conditions. The FP CGIL union is looking for a pay increase to recognise the professional responsibilities of firefighters with a minimum €80 a month as agreed in the initial public sector pay talks last year. The union will also be looking for improvements in pensions and ways of dealing with accidents and occupational diseases.
After the recent success of public service union UNISON in getting the courts to end the government's policy to charge workers for the right to take employment tribunal cases, UNISON and the PCS civil service union have celebrated two further court victories. UNISON's second success came in another landmark case that will effectively require employers to consult over workplace restructuring such as redundancies. The PCS victory was in a judicial review of government cuts to the civil service pension scheme which the government now has to withdraw.
PCS, the largest civil service union, organised protests over pay on 31 August in three of the largest government departments. The three departments - Justice, Home Office, Revenue and Customs - have all indicated that they will maintain the 1% pay cap for another year. Research for PCS has shown that the effect of pay freezes and the pay gap has cost civil servants anything from £3500 (€3800) to £20000 (€21700) depending on grade. The union is calling for a pay rise of 5% or £1200 (€1300).
After lengthy negotations, services union ver.di has endorsed a new agreement with the Uniper energy company that it will put to its members over the coming weeks. Key elements of the deal are commitments to no compulsory redundancies and to an early retirement scheme, seen by ver.di as important for the company's coal-powered operations that will face restructuring. This part of the agreement will run to 2022 while the long-term pay deal will run to 2024. The union prevented the company from cutting bonuses like Christmas pay but performance pay will be ended. In 2018 workers will get a lump
Public sector trade unions met on 30th August to give a clear message to the government that there should be no further delay in paying the 10% salary increase for all public service workers. The unions accused the government of delay as it had already indicated that the promised increase would be applied from November rather than September. The unions said that they had been negotiating in good faith since April and would be joining a national demonstration on pay on 14 September to underline their message to the government.
Workers employed in the Agency for International Co-operation for Development (AECID) took strike action on 8 September in protest over pay and conditions. Around 40% of staff have either left or are thinking of leaving the service because of deteriorating conditions pay frozen since 2009 and eroded by inflation and currency fluctuations. This has left some workers as much as 60% worse off in real terms. Unlike workers in other overseas departments AECID employees don't get any protection against local changes in the cost of living and this is the key demand of the strike.
The coalition government has confirmed that it will implement a 10% pay rise for public sector workers (15% for teachers) in November. Public sector trade unions had expected the increases to be applied in September and issued a threat of strike action if the government failed to ensure that the increases would take effect in November.
Public service unions have stepped up their campaign to end the public sector pay cap for all workers following the government's decision to offer higher pay rises to police, prison officers and firefighters. The unions used the annual meeting of the Trade Union Congress to make the case that all public service workers have seen their real pay decline significantly and deserve a higher pay rise. The FBU firefighters' union has rejected the 2% pay offer arguing that it comes with too many unacceptable conditions.
The main public sector unions in the CCOO and UGT confederations are calling on the government to improve its pay offer for the next three years. The current offer provides a guarantee for a 5.34% increase (1.5% in 2018, 1.75% in 2019 and 2.0% in 2020). However, this could reach 8% overall if target growth in economic output (GDP) is reached, along with a further target for deficit reduction. The unions want to see guaranteed increases that would begin to make up for the significant loss of purchasing power of public sector workers. The unions also want to see progress on working hours and an
Following votes across all the public sector unions, a majority (14), accounting for 80% by membership supported the new agreement on pay and conditions with three voting against. The three-year deal includes six pay increases (two targeted at the lower paid only) and will mean that the majority of public sector workers (73%) will see an overall increase of 7% by the end of the agreement. There is a range of other conditions that have been confirmed as part of the deal including the retention of outsourcing protections, the option to negotiate on returning to a shorter working week and
The JHL public sector union is preparing for the upcoming round of collective bargaining by surveying members and activists over the key elements for negotiation across the 60 agreements that it covers, most of which expire in January 2018. This time there will be not be a framework agreement negotiated with employers but the union will be in discussion with other members of the SAK confederation with a view to setting some common demands.
The two groups of public sector unions organised in the Frente Comum and FESAP federations have agreed their main collective bargaining demands for 2018. There are several common issues with unions calling for measures to tackle precarious employment, to unblock opportunities for career progression and confirm a 35-hour week for all public sector workers. The unions want to see a pay rise in 2018 that will begin to compensate workers for the loss of purchasing power since 2009, with the Frente Comum calling for at least 4% while the FESAP demand is for at least 2.5%. The federations also want