Public procurement, digitalization, young workers, equality on the agenda of EPSU committee on Local Government
A first reflection on the themes and priorities for EPSU’s upcoming Congress in May 2019 was one of the items on the agenda of the local and regional government committee meeting on 19 September in Brussels.
In the last months, the European Commission has launched a public consultation on the transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market. This consultation is aimed at investigating whether there is the need for policy measures that will promote digital innovation for better health and care in Europe.
The FNME-CGT energy union mobilised workers for strike action across the sector on 29-30 November in protest at the employers' pay offer. Following a pay freeze, the combination of increased social security payments and inflation mean that workers have seen a 2.8% fall in purchasing power. The union says that companies are paying out high dividends while continuing to impose austerity on employees.
Public services union UNISON has highlighted the case of care workers employed by the national charity Community Integrated Care who are being subjected to excessive surveillance. Staff have to sign-in on an hourly basis with their photos being taken and their identity also being checked with finger prints. The workers argue that the process actually hampers their ability to deliver proper care to clients. UNISON is also concerned that the company's use of biometric data without personal consent might infringe new data protection rules.
The Federation of Trade Unions Gaz Romania (FSGR) has said it may resort to strike action if the ENGIE energy company doesn't respond to its demands on pay. The union argues that the employers have failed to come up with a reasonable offer and also to provide information needed for the negotiations. The union has been in contact with the Labour Inspectorate to help put pressure on the company to provide the requested data and it hasn't ruled out possible legal action to be accompanied by protests and strikes.
While digitalisation has helped with time management in home care services and with removing routine tasks for public employment service workers, the evidence so far points to many more negative impacts in terms of psycho-social risks, physical wellbeing and increased management monitoring. These are initial findings from research being carried out for EPSU by the OSE research organisation and presented to EPSU's Quality Employment conference by Ramon Peña-Casas. The focus of the research is on the impact of digitalisation on job content, looking at work organisation, workloads and a range of