On 1 October over 60 trade union representatives from 22 countries took part in a lively conference in Brussels on the European Semester - the European Union's annual process of economic and social policy coordination.
Oct. 02, 2019
Sep. 13, 2019 Public service unions, including Fagborbundet and the nurses' union, are hopeful that 11 privatised care homes in Oslo will be back under municipal control in the next two years as their contracts come to an end. The red/green coalition on the city council has given positive signs but the unions are concerned it may use an option to extend contracts by one or two years. The unions argue that any delay will be costly to the workers. They give the example of a care home in Uranienburg which was privatised in 2013 and then remunicipalised but workers in the home had lost out with annual salaries for most workers NOK70-80000 (EUR 7-8000) less than in the public sector.
Aug. 23, 2019 Following talks with the BVAP eldercare employers' organisation, the ver.di services union has confirmed that both parties are committed to negotiate a sector collective agreement by the end of the year. They have also made it clear that they want the labour ministry to extend the agreement to cover all employers in the sector to prevent those paying low wages from undercutting the agreement. Ver.di and BVAP believe this is essential to ensuring decent pay in the sector and making occupations eldercare more attractive to workers.
Aug. 23, 2019 The GPA-djp private services union has strongly attacked the VKKJ organisation that provides care to disabled children for using an injunction to try to prevent its works councils from organising any kind of strike or protest to secure improvements in pay and conditions. The VKKJ has not signed up to the social services sector agreement and the works councils had successfully campaigned to bring pay at the organisation in line with that agreement but that's when VKKJ took the legal step. The union has offered to go to mediation but the employer has rejected this. The GPA-djp will strongly defend the case and the right to take action.
Aug. 21, 2019 Three unions - Fagforbundet, NSF and Delta - with a combined total membership of 560000, are joining forces to address the continuing problem of part-time work in health and social care. The unions say that around two-thirds of workers in the sector, employed mainly by municipalities - are on part-time contracts. This is a problem for many workers, making it difficult to make ends meet. The unions argue that the problem has been recognised at national level and some municipalities have taken action but they say the government needs to ensure that municipalities have the funding so that they can offer workers full-time contracts.
Aug. 07, 2019 The FNV trade union has delivered 1450 cards to the directors of the Fokus disability care group to demonstrate the anger of workers over the company's failure to carry out a promised evaluation of their jobs and pay. Fokus employs around 3000 social care assistants who provide support to people with disabilities. Following a restructuring three years ago management responsibilities were cut and teams left to organise themselves. The company made a commitment to review the situation after three years. The union believes that the workers are due compensation for their extra responsibilities and wants to see the evaluation carried out as soon as possible or it will organise further action.
Aug. 07, 2019 The OSZSP health and social service union met with employers and the government last month to discuss funding of social services. Employers in the non-profit sector agreed with the union about the importance of ensuring adequate and reliable funding for the sector. There were some concerns about the ability to pay the 2019 pay increase and employers said that the uncertainty of funding was causing problems for maintaining jobs and decent pay levels. The union called for 20 billion crowns for 2020 and a 10% pay increase. It also underlined the need for 1 billion crowns to fund investment in residential care buildings.
Aug. 07, 2019 The FP-CGIL public services federation has called a strike of social workers in Naples on 27 August in protest at the failure of the local administration to address the drastic shortage of staff in the city. There are only 126 social workers serving a population of just under a million and the union says that at least an additional 55 are needed. The administration has said it will only recruit around 40 staff in 2021-22 whereas the situation is set to worsen before then as some of the current staff retire.
Jul. 24, 2019 Services union ver.di has welcomed the establishment of a new employers' organisation - BVAP - covering the eldercare sector. The union will aim to begin talks as soon as possible over a collective agreement and is even optimistic that one could be negotiated by the end of the year. Ver.di would also aim to get the Ministry of Labour to extend the agreement to all employers in the sector. It is disappointed that so far the Red Cross has refused to join the new organisation. Ver.di wants to secure pay levels in eldercare comparable to the public sector which it argues are vital to retain experienced staff and improve recruitment of new workers.
Jul. 11, 2019 The latest collective agreement covering 89000 workers in the mental health sector includes a 8.38% pay increase over 2.5 years (3% in October 2019, 3% in August 2020 and 2.1% in June 2021). Workers will also get a EUR 500 lump sum payment. The agreement includes a number of measures to address training needs and a 7% higher starting salary to attract new workers to the sector. There will also be measures to address stress-related sickness and employees who work in particularly intensive care situations will get an extra 16 hours of leave.
Jul. 10, 2019
The trade unions and employers in social services took another step towards setting up a European social dialogue in the sector. EPSU met with the Federation of Social Employers in the final conference of the PESSIS+ project on 27 June 2019 in Brussels.
Jun. 21, 2019 On 11 June the CGT, FO and SUD federations in the health and social services sector organised a day of action with a series of urgent demands for the government. The key demands included a stop to all job cuts and cuts to services, beds and institutions. The unions also want extra funding, additional staffing, provision for training for emergency services, higher pay and assurances of a one-to-one staffing ratio in care homes.
Jun. 20, 2019 The CNE trade union is organising a series of weekly actions in the health and care sector to raise awareness of the serious problems relating to workloads and poor working conditions in hospitals and other care institutions. The union is coming up with a range of inventive actions on each "white-shirt" Tuesday to highlight the demands of workers to make the sector more attractive. The third Tuesday (18 June) focused on care homes and the poor pay and working conditions of care workers, particularly in home run by multinational companies.