Jul. 01, 2020 The FBU firefighters' union has expressed disappointment that the employers' organisation has failed to provide a response to the union's pay claim that was submitted in early June. The union is looking for an immediate and substantial increase in pay to take account of 10 years of pay freezes and below-inflation increases. Meanwhile, the main civil service union, PCS, has launched a campaign on pay with the aim also of securing a pay increase that will begin to restore pay levels after a similar period when pay has been frozen or kept inflation.
Jul. 01, 2020 The vida trade union has criticised employers in private health institutions for unilaterally postponing negotiations until September. The union argues that this leaves workers paying the price and that rather than COVID-19 being used as an excuse for suspending negotiations it should be a good reason for a quick settlement to compensate for inflation and with an increased allowance for dangerous work. There have been actions around the country on the issue and the union will be looking for workers to put more pressure on employers to resume negotiations.
Jul. 01, 2020 The Kommunal municipal services union has been successful in its call for an investigation of the Work Environment Authority (WEA) (see EPSU CB News No.9, May 2020). The union made the application to the parliamentary ombudsman on the basis that the WEA had failed to fully address issues related to the inadequate provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). The union argued that the authority had consulted more with employers than the union. Meanwhile Kommunal has also been successful in getting changes to the Public Health Agency's guidance on PPE use in social care, making clear that workers should have the right to face masks and visors rather than relying on local risk assessments to determine usage.
Jul. 01, 2020 The BDDSz childcare workers' union has launched a photo campaign to highlight the failure of many workplaces in the sector to provide appropriate workplace clothing for employees. The union points out that this is a legal duty and all the more important during the current COVID-19 pandemic. According to the union some 40% of institutions are failing to abide by the law, rising to 70% of those involved in child protection.
Jul. 01, 2020 The FOA trade union is gearing up for the public sector pay negotiations over a new collective agreement to follow the current agreement that expires in March 2021. There had been some discussion about postponing the negotiations but they will now go ahead with unions expecting tough bargaining conditions. Public sector wage increases are linked to developments in the private sector and so there will be some constraints but unions are determined to secure pay rises for their members and the FOA is stressing again the need to support low paid workers who have been less advantaged by pay increases that are normally set at percentages rather than as flat-rate amounts. The union is hoping that as lock-down restrictions continue to relaxed, union members will be able to meet from the autumn to discuss the main bargaining demands.
Jul. 01, 2020 Unions organising in state administration in both Spain and Portugal have raised serious concerns about the approach to telework and particularly governments taking the opportunity to regularise arrangements that were only adopted on an emergency basis. While there is recognition of the potential benefits to work-life balance, unions argue that fundamental issues need to be addressed through collective bargaining in relation to working time, the right to disconnect, provision of equipment, health and safety, training, contact with the workplace and the voluntary nature of the decision to telework.
Jul. 01, 2020 Health and social care trade unions have reinforced their demands for a major boost to pay and conditions, jobs and training in the health and social care sectors in response to the offer of a EUR 300 bonus to some health care staff. The bonus would be in the form of a voucher for spending in the retail and catering other specific sectors. However, it would only go to services directly funded by the federal government and so many care sector workers would miss out. Unions are also critical that it is tax and social contribution-free. Health and care trade unions have a series of key demands that they have been pushing for some time that will require substantial increased funding for the sector.
Jul. 01, 2020 FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and other unions that organise workers in the INPS social security service are mobilising members in protest at the Institute's failure to abide by a return-to-work agreement signed on 3 June. The unions argue that management pushed for reopening all offices on 1 July without taking the agreed health and safety precautions to protect both workers and service users. The unions also say that the Institute has failed to recognise the efforts put in by workers to maintain services while offices were closed to the public. Unions are organising workplace meetings across the service.
Jul. 01, 2020 On 30 June trade unions, supported by international union organisations, organised protests across the country, launching a week of action against government proposals to reform labour law. The substantial changes undermine trade union rights and are in conflict with the fundamental International Labour Organisation conventions (87 and 98) on the right to organise and negotiate. EPSU, along with the ETUC, has written letters of protest to the government, president and parliament.
Jul. 01, 2020 Trade unions organising in the health and social care sectors took to the streets again on 30 June as part of their long-running campaign to secure increased public funding, more jobs and better pay and conditions for workers in both public and private sectors, improved training, an end to closures of facilities. A further day of action is planned for 14 July. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Jun. 30, 2020 The FNV trade union reports that all care staff will get a bonus of EUR 1000 net in recognition of their work in coping with the COVID-19 virus. The payment will go to a very broad range of those involved in care across nursing homes, hospitals, ambulance services, disability and rehabilitation services, community and youth care and mental health. Nurses, care workers, cleaners and support staff will all get the payment. The union says that it hopes this will set the scene for negotiations in the autumn to deliver better terms and conditions for care workers and help address staff shortages. Meanwhile, there has been no progress yet with negotiations in central government where the collective agreement expires on 1 July. The next round of bargaining takes place on 6 July.
Jun. 26, 2020 The ver.di services union has given notice of the end of the current agreement covering 2.3 million workers in federal and municipal government on 31 August. This confirms that negotiations will get underway and the union is looking for an appropriate pay increase to recognise the hard work done by its members particularly during the current crisis. At a meeting with employers earlier this month there had been a discussion about the possibility of postponing bargaining until next year and giving all workers a lump sum payment this year as an interim measure. However, the union says the employers are taking a tough line. From 6 July there will be discussions across workplaces about the main bargaining aims which will be finalised at a meeting of the collective bargaining committee on 25 August.
Jun. 19, 2020 The UNISON public services union has written to the health minister and launched a campaign calling for full pay for carers who are sick or have to self-isolate in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in care homes or among those receiving home care. The vast majority of carers are low-paid and get basic sick pay of only £95 a week (EUR 105) which makes it impossible to provide for a family and puts pressure on the carer to stay at work. UNISON has welcomed £600 million (EUR 665m) of extra funding for the sector but is concerned this will end up in the coffers of private care companies with no guarantees that their employees will benefit
Jun. 19, 2020 14 June marked the anniversary of the massive mobilisation and strike action of women workers across the country to highlight persistent gender inequality. Latest figures show a gender pay gap of close to 20% and an even higher pensions gap of nearly a third. With major mobilisations impossible in the current situation, a week of online and local actions were organised in the week beginning 8 June to highlight the urgent need for action to tackle inequality.
Jun. 19, 2020 The FOA trade union has called for regular testing for COVID-19 for care home staff. The union is concerned about a recent article that found over half of homes had no plans for regular testing and the news that 29 infections were found at a nursing home in North Jutland. FOA is proposing that a system of mobile testing be set up so that all staff could be tested quickly and efficiently, particularly if they are to meet the recommendation from the European Centre for Disease Control of testing every two weeks.