May. 03, 2018 The three main public service federations took strike action on 30 April in protest at proposals for significant reductions to civil service employment rights and benefits. In a major cost-cutting reform plan the government wants to employ more workers on contracts, including temporary contracts, and reduce the number of civil servants on statutory conditions to a minimum. It is also looking to cut holiday entitlement and reduce certain sickness and pension benefits.
May. 02, 2018 The public service federations in the CCOO and UGT confederations organised a joint demonstration on 26 April to coincide with the parliamentary debate over the government's proposed budget. The unions are calling for a flat-rate increase of EUR 200 for all workers in public administration plus a further EUR 100 linked to pay grades. The unions are aiming for a minimum wage of EUR 1200 a month and steps towards restoring purchasing power for all workers in public administration. The unions are demanding more and better jobs but recent official statistics analysed by the FSC-CCOO federation show that there is still a major problem with temporary work. In the latest quarter 68.8% of jobs created were fixed-term, leading to an increase in the overall proportion of fixed-term contracts from 23.1% to 24.5%.
Apr. 19, 2018 Workers in the Aguas de Portugal water company have been meeting across the country to ensure strong support for the strike action planned for 24 April. The action is over a number of major issues including low pay, career development, working time and reasserting the right to collective bargaining. Local government union STAL says that pay levels for some workers are intolerable with some on rates as low as EUR 586 a month and about 700 workers on less than EUR 750 a month. The union wants to see an end to precarious contracts, an equalisation of rights to various allowances etc. across the company and implementation of a standard seven-hour day and 35-hour week.
Apr. 05, 2018 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.
Mar. 19, 2018 The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public sector federations have negotiated a deal with the government which will mean gradual restoration of purchasing power and other rights lost during the years of austerity. Over the next three years salaries will increase by at least 6.12% but this could rise to 8.79% if certain economic and deficit targets are met. There is also a commitment to get temporary employment down from 24% to 8% of the workfoce. Restrictions on recruitment will be loosened with certain priority areas now able to replace all workers who leave. The deal also confirms the return to collective bargaining and among other measures the possibility to negotiate on working hours with a view, where appropriate, to return to a 35-hour week.
Mar. 09, 2018 The CCOO and UGT trade union confederations report massive support for their two-shift strike action across the public and private sectors on 8 March in protest at the gender pay gap, precarious emploment and violence against women. The two two-hour stoppages took place from 11.30 to 13.30 and from 16.30 to 18.30. The unions say that over 100000 people joined rallies in front of town halls across the country and that the success of the action was the result of intensive preparation through thousands of trade union meetings, trade union statements and an well-organised information campaign in the lead up to the day.
Mar. 08, 2018 The STAL local government trade union and other unions in the Frente Comum federation of public service unions are organising a national demonstration in Lisbon on 16 March. The protest is to underline the unions' main demands for a 4% pay increase with a minimum of EUR 60 a month. While the government has finally unfrozen career development after 13 years, some of the lowest paid workers hardly benefit at all, moving only from below to slightly above the minimum wage. The unions' demands also include action to reduce precarious employment and increased allowances to cover arduous and dangerous work.
Mar. 08, 2018 A survey commissioned by the DISK trade union confederation reveals the low pay and long working hours faced by many workers across Turkey. Some 54% of all workers say they are “struggling to make ends meet,” while 71% of workers without any social coverage say the same. In contrast, only 19% of trade union members say they are “struggling to make ends meet.” However, union density is only at 13%. Twenty-four percent of all workers say they do not take any annual leave, rising to 48% among uninsured workers.The study also revealed that 44% of workers believe their health and safety conditions are poor.
Feb. 21, 2018 The CCOO and UGT unions in the public sector met with the finance ministry on 19 February to underline their demands for a new agreement on public employment that would include a target of reducing temporary employment to 8% of total employment over the next three years and to end the restriction on replacing employees who leave which has had major implications not just for workers but also the quality of services. The unions are also looking for an above-inflation pay rise and a restoration of the 5% salary cut from 2010. They also want to see a return to the 35-hour week across the public sector.
Feb. 08, 2018 A new report from the Kommunal local government union paints a positive picture of pre-school education but reveals increased pressure on staff, a failure to ensure appropriate staffing levels and an excessive use of fixed-term contracts. The report is based on a large survey of Kommunal members and interviews with 3352 childcare workers. The survey found that 39% of childcare workers found their work mentally exhausting, up by 15% since 2012. The union wants to see proper application of the official guidelines on staff/child ratios and an increase in the number of staff on permanent contracts.
Feb. 07, 2018 Home care workers in the Basque region of northern Spain are in the third month of their campaign to secure better pay and employment conditions. Their latest partial work stoppage took place on 25 January and further action is planned for 12 and 27 February to put pressure on city councils and the regional council to act on the low pay and precarious employment conditions that are common to the contracts run by private companies across the region. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Jan. 26, 2018 The 2018 edition of the World Employment and Social Outlook from the International Labour Organisation has a generally positive analysis of unemployment trends in Europe but underlines the often poor quality of jobs being created which has also partly contributed to constraining wages. The report says that since the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, a large share of the jobs created, especially in the Euro Area, have been part-time jobs, and workers have often taken them involuntarily, owing to the lack of full-time employment opportunities.
Jan. 25, 2018 25th January will see the first of another series of partial work stoppages by home care workers in the Basque region in protest at poor pay and working conditions. The actions follow similar protests at the end of last year coordinated by the UGT, USO, ELA and LAB trade union organisations. The unions say that companies are not respecting the collective agreement and make no guarantees on hourly payments when they bid for contracts. The unions are also protesting against excessive flexibility and use of temporary contracts and the fact that workers haven't had a pay increase for five years. They will be taking their case to the Basque regional authority demanding measures to ensure quality employment and quality services in the sector.