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
Outsourcing, Corporate Social Responsibility
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 SIPTU general union is pushing the government to increase funding to ensure that around 10000 care workers get the pay restoration that has been negotiated for workers directly employed in the public sector. At the time of austerity measures the government cutback on the grant going to so-called Section 39 providers and this had a direct impact on the disability and other care workers they employed. A three-year, public sector-wide agreement has been signed which will provide pay restoration for the majority of workers over the next three years. SIPTU is determined that these Section 39
The three health federations - FP CGIL, CISL FP and UIL FPL - have said they will mobilise workers and the community to prevent the threatened outsourcing of nursing and auxiliary jobs at the Umberto I university hospital in Rome. The federations have strongly condemned the proposal that could affect 700 workers, including nurses who work in intensive care and specialist departments most of whom have been at the hospital for many years. The federations also attacked the complete failure of the hospital to consult or negotiate with the trade unions and warned that workers' pay could fall by up
Waste workers employed by Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in England, have won a new deal that will protect the pay of workers who were threatened with the loss of thousands of pounds in pay.
The Fagforbundet public services trade union has called on municipalities to end any contracts with the Orange nursing staff agency. Local authorities in Oslo and Bergen have already terminated contracts with the company following evidence of its infringement of various regulations including health and safety law. The company also failed to maintain services to users and to comply with demands from the authorities to meet the terms of its contract. Fagforbundet says the company is also guilty of paying wages well below the sector agreement while press reports have revealed the company's tax
On 3 October unions in the DISK and KESK confederations organised a half-day work stoppage in the city of Izmir in western Turkey. The strike called for the reinstatement of workers who have been arbitrarily dismissed by the government in its continuing indiscriminate actions following the attempted coup in 2016. The unions also called for an increase in the minimum wage and for municipal workers to be treated the same as civil servants in relation to the government's recent legislation to end outsourcing.
The Fagforbundet public service union has revealed figures showing that care workers in the private sector in Oslo are between EUR 7000 and EUR 8700 worse off than those in the public sector. A starting salary for a graduate care worker in the public sector is NOK 367000 (EUR 38500), NOK 84000 more than the same worker in the private sector. Those on minimum wages in the sector are EUR 7000 better off if employed by the municipality. Fagforbundet also says that private sector workers are more likely to face heavier workloads as a result of understaffing. Fourteen of the 40 care homes in Oslo
The four main public service unions - FP-CGIL, CISL-FP, UIL-PA and UIL-FPL - have together launched a major campaign and petition calling for action to improve public services and deliver better employment conditions. The four unions have drawn up a document with 11 key proposals that cover calls for increased public investment; substantial recruitment of new workers and improved training provision; better union representation; finalising outstanding collective agreements for the 2016-2018 period and ensuring resources for the next round of agreements for 2019-21; bringing back privatised
On 20 November the government announced compulsory arbitration to end a dispute between the NSF nurses' union and the NHO private employers' organisation. The union had called a strategic strike of 55 nurses on 25 October to protest against the NHO agreement having lower minimum pay and sickness benefit rates compared to the agreement negotiated with municipal employers. NSF has found examples of nurses' annual salaries in NHO employers that are NOK 30000-100000 (EUR 3200-10000) lower than in the public sector. After three weeks of strike action the NHO imposed a lockout on all 501 NSF members
An update of a survey by the Kommunal municipal workers' union has revealed differences between private and public eldercare in terms of pay and conditions. On average a full-time municipal worker in eldercare is paid SEK 2300 (EUR 225) more a month than their private counterpart. Private sector workers are also more likely to work part time (72%) and on fixed-term contracts (37%) than municipal workers (61% and 27% respectively). A survey of members also found that private sector workers feel less satisfied with the job and less motivated than municipal workers and while both sets of workers
Around 300 hospital support workers, including catering, cleaning and portering staff, took strike action on 31 July in their campaign to get pay parity with National Health Service employees. The workers at three hospitals in North West England are employed by the multinational Compass and many of them are on the lowest pay rate of £8.21 (€8.95) an hour which is £0.82 (€0.90) less than the £9.03 (€9.85) minimum for NHS workers. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Public service unions are fighting for better pay from outsourcing companies and to stop further outsourcing. Members of the PCS civil service union are continuing their long-running strike to get outsourcers Aramark and ISS to pay the living wage. They are calling on government intervention to resolve the dispute. Meanwhile health workers in Bradford in the north east are threatening an all-out strike in protest at plans to transfer them to a wholly-owned subsidiary rather than retain them as direct employees of the National Health Service.
A nine-month long dispute between the PCS civil service union and contractors ISS and Aramark could be near to conclusion if details of a pay offer are confirmed. The companies provide services to the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy which has indicated that the contractors may meet the union's demand to pay the London living wage of £10.55 (EUR 11.80) an hour. Meanwhile, the union is planning another five days of strike action in another long-running dispute, this time over union recognition at the contractor Interserve which provides services for the Foreign Office.