EPSU and PSI have sent solidarity greetings to the three union federations – Filctem-Cgil, Flaei- Cisl and Uiltec – in their dispute with the ENEL energy company. The three unions are planning national strike action on 8 March and began a month-long period of industrial action affecting overtime, travel and changes to working hours on 24 February. The unions are angry about the company’s unilateral plans to change working hours arrangements, to outsource operations on the electricity grid, and its refusal to renew the remote work agreement. The three federations argue that the measures will
Strikes and industrial action
The right to strike is fundamental for trade unions. Although strikes and industrial action are the weapons of last resort, it is crucial that trade unions can use them in the fight to defend workers' rights and get a fair deal from employers. The challenge for many unions, particularly those in the public sector, is that the right to strike is restricted or even completely denied. Information on the right to strike in the public sector is available in 48 country factsheets that cover the main rules and include information on cases that trade unions have taken to the International Labour Organisation and Council of Europe.
The ver.di trade union continues to negotiate with employers in the private and non-profit health sector to tackle staff shortages. The latest success comes after 19 days of strike action at the Jewish Hospital in Berlin where staffing levels will be stipulated across most areas of operation and employees will get compensation in the form of additional days off if the hospital fails to abide by the agreement. If workers are in stressful situations because of staff shortages they accumulate points which can mount up to be taken as time off. The agreement will apply from December 2024. Public
Filctem-CGIL, Flaei-CISL, and Uiltec-UIL are currently mobilising in protest of Enel Group’s decision to make unilateral changes in working hours arrangements, outsourcing operations on the electricity grid, and refusing to renew the remote work agreement.
The JHL trade union and others in the SAK confederation organised a week of strike action between 12 and 16 February in their continuing campaign to oppose the government’s attacks on the welfare state and trade union and workers’ rights. The actions follow the major national protest organised by the SAK and STTK confederations on 1 February. A range of JHL’s membership will be involved in the week of action including workers in early childhood education and care, municipalities, local public transport, energy and rail services.
Eight public service trade unions – CFDT, CFE-CGC, CGT, FA, FO, FSU, Solidaires and UNSA – met on 24 January and issued a joint communique condemning the absence of any measures to increase public service pay, particularly in context of sustained inflation. The unions are calling for immediate negotiations to address issues around careers and salaries and have rejected President Emmanual Macron’s talk of better recognizing "merit" as a tactic to avoid the urgent need to improve pay and conditions. The unions have set 19 March as a national day of action, including strikes and other protests
The ZSSS trade union confederation reports that, following its industrial action last November, the Trade Union of State Authorities of Slovenia (SDOS) organised further strike action from 29-31 January. The union says there has been no progress with the negotiations, particularly in regard to measures for the lowest paid and in contrast with other parts of the public sector. The SDOS has also rejected the proposal from the government to wait and resolve the main issues in the framework of negotiations on the public sector wage system is not acceptable to the union. The union says that workers
Public service unions have organised one of the biggest strikes and mobilisations in Northern Ireland for many years as they try to put pressure on the UK government to stop delaying a pay offer for public service workers. The government claims that its hands are tied by the political stalemate in the province and the lack of a functioning Assembly. The unions argue that this is an excuse and that the money is available to make a pay offer immediately. EPSU affiliates UNISON, Unite, GMB and RCN are involved in the action, along with NIPSA, RCM, CSP, SoR, BDA as well as the teaching unions
The FP-Cgil, Cisl-FP and Uil-Fpl public service federations have proclaimed a national strike for 20 February for the staff of public and social housing companies covered by the Federcasa collective agreement. The unions say that, in the current negotiations for a new agreement for 2022-2024, the employers have proved unwilling to recognize the need to ensure the full professional development of staff and to offer adequate increases to protect wages. The planned strike will be the latest stage in lengthy mobilisations and campaigning since autumn 2023 which have focused on the crucial service
The SAK and STTK trade union confederations are continuing their campaign against government proposals that attack the welfare state, employment and trade union rights. The next step will be a national demonstration in Helsinki on 1 February. They are also calling for support from civil society organisations. The confederations have been participating in tripartite working groups, discussions set up by the government and in parliamentary hearings, emphasising how badly workers will be affected by the government’s policies. The first reductions affecting the unemployed have already entered into
The ETUCLEX newsletter, produced by the ETUC’s legal team, provides a regular update on key legal developments across Europe and in the latest issue includes reports on the right to strike. In a long-running case involving the right to strike of civil servants in Germany, the European Court of Human Rights recently ruled that disciplinary action taken against teachers who took industrial action in 2009 and 2010 did not involve a breach of their human right to freedom of association. The Court found that the particular circumstances of civil servants in Germany in relation to their pay and
In a long-running dispute over pay, the BMA doctors’ union has launched a six-day strike involving junior doctors – the occupational category that covers a wide range of qualified doctors and consultants. The union is seeking a deal which will compensate for the 26% decline in real pay for junior doctors since 2008. The strike began on 3 January and will be the single, longest strike action in the history of the National Health Service. Meanwhile, the RCN nurses’ union is maintaining its dispute over pay from last year and has strongly criticised the health ministry for a delay in beginning
On 9 December, the TUC trade union confederation organised its first special congress since 1982 to discuss its strategy to fight the government’s attack on the right to strike. EPSU affiliates in the UK are particularly affected by the new minimum services level legislation which could mean that workers who lawfully vote to strike, could be forced to attend work and even sacked if they don’t comply. The TUC says that one in five workers in Britain – 5.5 million people – the vast majority in public services, are at risk of losing their right to strike as a result of the Strikes Act. In a
The ver.di trade union has begun to consult members over the deal reached on 9 December with regional government employers after a third round of bargaining. The agreement is comparable to that covering federal and municipal workers and includes a tax-free lump sum of €3,000, which will be paid as a one-off amount of €1,800 in December 2023, followed by monthly payments of €120 between January and October 2024. On 1 November 2024, monthly salaries will be increased by €200 and then increased again by 5.5% on 1 February 2025 (with the guarantee of a minimum increase of €340). Ver.di believes
Members of the STAL local government union are mobilising for a busy end to the year with a series of actions to push for improved pay and conditions. In Coimbra there is a long-running strike related to special payments for workers in municipal swimming pools while transport workers are demanding decent facilities for drivers and are on strike on 14-15 December. Municipal workers in Almada will mobilise on 21 December over pay and the cost of living while waste workers take action on 22, 23 and 26 December in Oeiras against unilateral changes to shifts and working time. Finally, workers at
The IF Metall engineering union has been taking strike action to put pressure on Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, to sign a collective agreement. Although the direct dispute involves a small number of members, the union is determined to prevent Tesla from undermining the strong system of collective bargaining not only in the metal sector but across the whole economy. Many unions in other sectors have taken solidarity action and public service trade unions like Kommunal are showing their support and urging their members to get involved in the campaign. Meanwhile, unions in neighbouring