2019 December EPSU Collective Bargaining News 24
IN THIS ISSUE
- Netherlands: Action delivers for hospital workers
- UK: Health unions strike over pay and staffing
- France: Health unions continue action over pay and funding
- Belgium: Prison staff take action over staffing and overcrowding
- Finland: Strike action protects pay and conditions at municipal company
- Austria: Childcare assistants to get 3% pay increase
- Portugal: Waste workers take action on pay and conditions
- Sweden: Local government union focuses on pay and working time
- Denmark: Union sets out plans for private sector bargaining
- Ukraine: Unions mobilise against labour law changes
- Italy: Public service federations mobilise over jobs and bargaining
- Spain: Union rejects government delay to pay increase
- Germany: Latest on negotiations in waste and energy
Dec. 17, 2019 Trade unions (ACV/CSC and ACOD/CGSP) organised a national strike in the prisons service on 12 December in protest at underfunding, badly maintained buildings, lack of staff, overcrowding and the resulting safety issues arising from this deteriorating situation. Understaffing has lead to many employees doing extra hours and a massive number of hours of overtime that remains to be recouped. The unions also have issues with contracts, provision of uniforms and a lack of strategy in the justice system. It is estimated that prisons currently hold around 10000 in mates, exceeding capacity by 1700.
Dec. 18, 2019 Health and social care unions were again joined by hospital campaigning groups in a major national mobilisation on 17 December, following earlier days of strikes and protests in October and November (see EPSU CB News No.22, November and No.19, October). The campaign is highlighting the catastrophic situation in many health institutions as a result of underfunding. The key demands include increased funding and recruitment, a general increase in salaries and an immediate block on closures of health facilities. The protests combined with the continuing mobilisation against planned pension reforms.
Dec. 18, 2019 Public services union ver.di has negotiated a new pay deal with waste and recycling company Schönmackers. The company has 1500 employees and operates in the North Rhine Westphalia region. The agreement includes a pay increase of 3.6% from March 2020 and a further 1.3% from August 2021. There is an EUR 80 increase on trainee pay and the agreement runs to the end of January 2022. Meanwhile there is no progress in the GWE negotiations covering 7700 energy and water workers in the same region. Ver.di has rejected as completely inadequate a pay offer over 28 months that would equate to only 1.75% in the first year and 1.57% in the second year.
Dec. 18, 2019 The vida services union has negotiated a 3% pay increase that will cover around 5000 childcare assistants working in private institutions and take the minimum wage in the sector to EUR 1611 a month. Pay for this group of workers is regulated by the ministry of social affairs. There will also be a 3% increase on additional payments and a new pay level for workers with 31 years of service or more.
Dec. 18, 2019 Following industrial action and the first ever national hospital strike, trade unions have negotiated a new 27-month collective agreement that includes a 5% pay increase from 1 January 2020 and a further 3% from 1 January 2021. Around half of hospital employees work irregular hours and they will benefit from a new allowance which will add a further 2.5% to their pay. All employees will also get a EUR 1200 pro rata lump sum. The agreement includes higher pay for trainees and measures to improve work-life balance for those working on-call and additional shifts. The unions have also managed to block employer attempts to cut sickness insurance and payments. Unions will ballot their members over the agreement.
Dec. 18, 2019 Members of the STAL trade union took strike action on 12 December in the Tratolixo inter-municipal waste company that covers four local authorities near Lisbon. Meanwhile STAL members in the Resinorte and Resiestrela waste companies (part of the EGF group) are planning strike action on 26 and 27 December. In both cases the union is pushing for respect for collective bargaining, an increase in pay and improvements in working conditions. At Tratolixo the demands include implementation of the 35-hour week, 25 days' annual leave and an allowance to take account of risky and onerous working conditions. In the other companies STAL is looking for a pay increase to cover lost purchasing power and measures on career development.
Dec. 18, 2019 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 rights cut or reduced during austerity.
Dec. 18, 2019 The main public service federations - FP-CGIL, CISL-FP, UIL-FPL and UIL-PA - organised a demonstration in Rome on 12 December as part of a period of agitation to put pressure on the government to guarantee funding for the renegotiation of collective agreements for 2019-2021. EPSU general secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan joined the demonstration. The unions want to ensure there is funding for adequate pay increases and for the introduction of a new job classfication system. They are also calling for an extraordinary recruitment plan to address the urgent staff shortages across many parts of the public service.
Dec. 18, 2019 Strike action organised by the JHL public services union was instrumental in maintaining the collective agreement covering around 1000 employees of the cleaning and catering company Arkea, owned by the City of Turku. The company had switched to another employers' organisation so that it could sign up to a different and inferior collective agreement. This would have meant employees suffering cuts in pay of 15%-30%. After strike action by the 1000 employees at Arkea, a second strike also involving local transport workers was organised. With the threat of a third strike the company agreed to reinstate the original collective agreement.
Dec. 19, 2019 The FOA public services union has around 5000 members who work in the private sector mainly for companies providing social care. There are four key themes in its plans for the first round of bargaining that will start in the New Year. With the economy improving the union sees clear space for a good general wage increase. It also wants workers to have more scope to choose what element of their salary they take as pay, pension contribution or holiday entitlement. FOA will also be looking for measures to improve work-life balance and guarantees that its members will have access to union representatives.
Dec. 19, 2019 Trade unions organised a demonstration in Kiev on 17 December as part of a campaign against proposed changes to the labour code that would weaken workers’ protection. EPSU has sent letters to the Ukrainian government demanding that it discusses and negotiates with the unions. The ETUC Executive Committee and the Pan-European Regional Council of the ITUC have also adopted positions in support of the Ukrainian unions.
Dec. 19, 2019 The Kommunal municipal and health services union has set out some of the main demands that it will pursue in the upcoming collective bargaining with municipal employers. The union will aim for a 3% general pay rise with an extra 0.5% to be used at local level for specific groups of vocationally trained workers in health, child and other care. It wants vocationally trained temporary workers to be offered a permanent contract after 12 months and is calling for a number of measures on working time. Among a range of demands, Kommunal wants to ensure full-time work is the norm and argues that the employer should pay extra if it wants workers to do split shifts. It is demanding an extra day's leave for all workers and a 32-hour working week for night workers.
Dec. 19, 2019 Four health trade unions in Northern Ireland - UNISON, Unite, NIPSA and RCN - organised a day's strike action on 18 December to demand urgent action on pay inequality in the NHS. Health workers in Northern Ireland are the lowest paid in the UK and unions argue that pay parity will be a major factor in delivering safe staffing levels. EPSU sent a message of support. The unions are also planning or have organised other forms of industrial action as part of their campaign (see EPSU CB News 22 and 23).