2018 December epsucob@NEWS 23
- Europe: Negotiations and action - an overview of collective bargaining in 2018
- Europe: Analysis of public and private sector pay developments across 44 countries
- Slovenia: Public sector unions back national protest over pay and collective bargaining
- Hungary: Unions call national protest against labour code changes
- Spain: Strike action over planned changes to justice system
- Austria: Unions set out key negotiating demands in private healthcare
- Germany: Union steps up call for sector agreement covering eldercare
- Netherlands: Slow progress in energy network sector negotiations
- Ireland: Social care workers vote for pay justice
- Portugal: Firefighters' unions organise protest over pay and conditions
- Denmark: Union finally secures back pay for care workers
- Europe: Research publications reveal extent of workplace cancer risks
- Global: Global analysis highlights low wage growth and gender pay gap
- Turkey: New study reveals challenges facing public service unions
Nov. 30, 2018 EPSU affiliates have had a busy year fighting for pay rises and improvements in employment and working and conditions for their members across Europe. A round-up of key developments highlights some of the major conflicts and calls for solidarity, including the public sector pay dispute in Denmark in the spring, the equal pay strike in Glasgow in November and the support built across the Orpea social care multinational for striking workers in Germany. EPSU's collective bargaining newsletter has covered all these and more in its 300+ articles reporting on health, social services, local, regional and national government, energy, waste and water in over 30 countries.
Nov. 30, 2018 EPSU has published a report that compares pay developments in the public and private sectors in 44 countries over the period 2003 to 2017. One of the main findings of the report, written by the Labour Research Department, is the greater impact of austerity on public sector pay trends in the European Union compared to countries outside the EU. The survey found 10 states where there was similar pay growth in both the public and private sector before the crisis, but since then the public sector has fallen behind (eight EU states and two outside the EU) and there were four states where public sector earnings were already growing more slowly than private sector earnings and the financial crisis made this worse (all in the EU).
Nov. 30, 2018 Members of the FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have reacted angrily to proposed changes to the justice system that will have major negative effects on employees. Workers in the Ministry of Justice could faced compulsory redeployment. The unions believe the measures will undermine training, career development and specialisation. The unions are particularly worried about the impact on courts dealing with gender-based violence if they lose specialist staff. Around 30000 Ministry of Justice employees joined the day's strike action on 16 November with an estimated 5000 taking to the streets for a national demonstration in Madrid.
Nov. 30, 2018 Negotiations over a new collective agreement to cover energy network companies have yet to make progress 10 months after they first got underway. A trade union demonstration outside the venue for the negotiations highlighted the main demands for a 3.5% pay increase, measures to reduce temporary work and other excessive flexible working and an initiative on sustainable working time. The working time initiative is aimed at older workers and would offer them the chance to work 80% of their normal hours for 90% of normal pay while protecting 100% of their pension entitlement.
Nov. 30, 2018 The GPA-djp and vida services unions have set out their list of demands in negotiations covering 100000 workers in the private healthcare sector. Along with a 6% pay rise (with minimum increase of EUR 150 to benefit the lower paid) the unions also want to see a reduction in hours to a standard 35-hour week without loss of pay and with additional jobs to maintain services. Other key demands include: avoiding split shifts, a sixth week of leave for all workers, earlier service to be taken into account, better pay for trainees and apprentices, part-time work for older workers and implementation of a key court ruling on travelling time.
Dec. 03, 2018 The STAL and STML trade unions that represent firefighters organised a national protest in Lisbon on 3 December to challenge the government over changes to the statutes that regulate pay and conditions in the sector. The trade unions had already registered their anger with the government over its failure to negotiate with them. The government did agree to meet the unions but they rejected its proposals for change because they threatened to undermine firefighters' pay, pensions and career progression.
Dec. 03, 2018 In a case involving a Russian railworker who was dismissed after a one-day strike over pay, the European Court of Human Rights has confirmed that the right to strike falls under the protection of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights as an important aspect of the right to freedom of association. The court based its arguments on conclusions of the International Labour Organisation's supervisory bodies, which take the right to strike as an indispensable corollary of the freedom of association.
Dec. 03, 2018 It has taken three and a half years and legal action by the FOA public service union to ensure that care workers finally get the money they owed from their employer, Kaerkommen, which went bust in 2015. The 77 workers were owed around DK 12 million (EUR 1.6m) in pay and holiday allowance but the public authorities - municipalities on the one-hand and the wage guarantee fund on the other - refused to take responsibility for the compensation. The court ruled that the wage guarantee fund should pay up and the employment minister has now drafted new legislation to cover such cases and ensure that in future workers don't lose out.
Dec. 03, 2018 The ver.di services union has called on employers of all kinds across the eldercare sector to negotiate a sector agreement. The union argues that this is needed urgently to ensure better pay for eldercare workers and that they all are covered by a sector agreement whether they work for the private for profit, non-profit or public sectors. Ver.di has welcomed steps taken by non-profit welfare organisations to create an employers' organisation and argues that the next step is a sector agreement that will help improve the attractiveness of the sector and tackle staffing shortages. The union's collective bargaining committee will meet in January to set out the key elements of a sector agreement which is likely to follow the main public sector agreements.
Dec. 05, 2018 The International Labour Organisation's (ILO) Global Wage Report 2018-19 finds that wage developments in high-income countries declined from 0.9% to 0.4% from 2016 to 2017. This trend is puzzling for the ILO in the context of a recovery in economic growth and falling unemployment and it argues that wage stagnation is an obstacle to further economic growth and rising living standards. The report also looks at the gender pay gap and using a new way of analysing the difference in men and women's pay finds that the gap has been underestimated in many countries.
Dec. 05, 2018 The Pergam trade union confederation that includes many public sector unions joined the ZSSS confederation in a national demonstration in Ljubljana on 5 December. The protest was called in reaction to employer organisations' attacks on proposals to increase the minimum wage and threats to end sector collective bargaining. The action, taking place outside the head offices of a number of employer organisations, also called for a general pay increase for workers, recognising the problems of low pay and precarious employment.
Dec. 05, 2018 The ETUI research organisation has published a new report and issue of its health and safety magazine, HesaMag, that both cover the risks of workplace cancers. As many as 100000 deaths a year are linked to workplace carcinogens but it is not just hazardous substances that are of concern. The ETUI publications also cover other risks such as night work which has been linked to higher risk of breast cancer with some specific cases affecting hospital staff. HesaMag also looks at the problems of getting proper recognition of the risks faced by workers in sectors like cleaning, maintenance and waste-recycling.
Dec. 05, 2018 Public sector unions will join a national demonstration in Budapest on 8 December, with the slogan: "united against the slavery law", in protest against the Hungarian government’s proposal to amend the Labour Code. The amendments would increase the overtime threshold from 250 to 400 hours a year, as well as increase the period in which overtime needs to be accounted for from 1 to 3 years. EPSU sent a solidarity message to its affiliates.
Dec. 05, 2018 After an 18-month campaign, social care workers have voted in favour of measures that will mean that they will recoup the impact of pay cuts and freezes they have suffered since the financial and economic crisis. The workers, employed by so-called Section 39 non-profit organisations, do many social service-related jobs that have counterparts in the public sector. While public sector workers are covered by a pay restoration agreement, Section 39 employees have had to fight for the right to have their pay restored on a similar basis.
Dec. 06, 2018 The FES trade union-linked research institute has published a new study on the recent developments in Turkish trade unions. It looks at membership in the six confederations, the legal framework and the attack on the right to strike. Civil service unions face a ban on both collective bargaining and the right to strike. The report includes information on union density and the organising of sub-contracted workers where there have been membership gains.