Transparency & Corruption, Early Childhood Education and Care
The public services trade union, younion, collected 15000 signatures in a petition that it handed in to the parliament of the region of Lower Austria on 10 October. The petition calls for action to deal with the pay and working conditions of the 3000 childcare workers in the region. The union wants to see improvements to education and training in the sector as well as the development of a proper career structure. It is also calling for pay to be commensurate with the responsibilities and demands of the job. The union is expecting to be able to negotiate soon, although there is no offer on this
European Parliament supports demand for whistleblower protection – you can help by signing the petition
Following a campaign of unions such as EPSU and Eurocadres, many social action groups and MEPs of several parties, the European Parliament adopted a report on the need for an EU initiative on whistleblower protection, 24 October.
The FNV trade union has welcomed new data showing an increase of 56000 in the number of children benefitting from childcare places. The union says this good news has to be weighed against the main challenges facing the sector with many workers on precarious contracts, with variable hours and often facing high workloads. The union plans to raise the issues in the upcoming negotiations over a new collective agreement. The current agreement covers 80000 workers and expires in January. Negotiations are due to begin in November.
Excessive workloads and unpredictable hours will feature prominently in the childcare sector negotiations that began on 8 November. With a slogan that "we're not jacks of all trades" the FNV trade union highlighted the problem that childcare workers were overburdened with cleaning, administrative and other tasks rather than child care itself. The union will be looking for restrictions on the extent to which employers can ask childcare workers to change their working time at short notice. The main pay claim will be for a 3.5% pay rise for the 80000 workers in the sector.
The Kommunal municipal workers' union is celebrating a successful mobilisation of workers to secure changes to the pre-school curriculum. The first draft of the curriculum had nothing to say about the role of childcare workers and so Kommunal used its influence on the ministry of education while its members ensured that childcare workers were the biggest group providing input into the curriculum consultation. The revised curriculum now acknowledges the key role of childcare workers and is seen by the union as an important step in furthering the professional status of the occupation.
The SIPTU general workers' union has welcomed new government intiatives on funding and regulation of the childcare sector which it believes will help improve children's safety and the quality of care. However, the union argues that urgent action is needed to tackle low pay and precarious employment in the sector. SIPTU says with average pay at only EUR 10.88 an hour, there are significant recruitment and retention problems as reflected in a staff turnover rate of just over 28%.The union wants to see a major overhaul of funding for the sector to provide the basis of decent pay for such
Employees of the FUS private childcare company are getting a 2.8% pay rise which will mean annual pay increases of between NOK 8900 (EUR 890) and NOK 14200 (EUR 1420) depending on occupation. There will also be a NOK 56 (EUR 5.60) additional payment per hour for late shifts beginning after 17.00. FUS has 175 kindergartens around the country attended by 13000 children. The settlement is in line with that negotiated recently with the PBL private childcare employers' federation. Negotiations involved public services unions Fagforbundet and Delta as well as the teachers' union.
The KKDSz culture workers' union and BDDSz childcare workers' union have been instrumental in getting the SZEF public sector confederation to launch a campaign on public service pay. The confederation is highlighting low pay and understaffing across the public services and the need for negotiations on long-term pay development in the public sector. It calls for action on corruption and the need for a redistribution of government spending to workers to ensure a fully staffed and professional public service delivering quality services.
Access to quality health, care and education and fairer and better tax, benefit and social protection systems are among some of the positive elements in the European Commission’s 2019 Annual Growth Survey (AGS) that was published on 21 November.