Public service unions report a massive response to their call for a day of protest and strike action on 22 March against government plans for the public sector. While the unions are calling for a wide range of measures to support statutory employment rights, increase pay, reduce precarious employment, improve career development, the government response has been to talk about reforming existing social dialogue structures, weaking the statutory system and extending individualisation of pay. Following the abortive meeting with the government on 3 April, unions will meet on 10 April to discuss how to respond with the prospect of a range of initiatives during April and further demonstrations and strike action likely in May.
Unions reject government plans following mass mobilisation
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Unions representing public service workers have made clear that they do not accept the government’s proposal to suspend this year’s pay increases, along with Christmas and other bonuses. Two pay increases are due to be paid this year, both of 2% in June and October. EPSU issued a statement supporting the unions’ position and criticising the government for pushing for a pay freeze for workers on the frontline of the fight against the pandemic.
The public service federations of the CCOO confederation have called on the acting government to guarantee that the 2% pay increase, agreed as part of a three-year pay deal, will be paid on 1 January 2020 to all three million public sector workers. Formally a new government has yet to be confirmed and the acting public service minister is claiming that the increase cannot be confirmed but that it could be paid and backdated later in 2020. The union argues that the increase can be paid on the basis of a royal decree and say this needs to be done urgently as part of the union demands to win back