Alongside action by the CGIL and UIL confederations, the CISL trade union confederation is planning a national protest in Rome on 25 November over the government’s budget for 2024 and its refusal to engage with the trade unions. Together with demands for increased funding for public services, CISL wants to see action on staffing and measures to reduce precarious work. It also wants the government to commit to negotiating new collective agreements in the public sector. The mobilisations by UIL and CGIL continue with regional stoppages planned for 24 and 27 November and 1 December.
Safe and effective staffing levels
Quality public services depend on having safe and effective staffing levels. This is crucial in health and social services but is also important in a range other public services. It is also about ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff who are otherwise overworked and under pressure to cover for staff shortages. Recruitment and retention and training and continuous professional development are key elements in working to achieve and maintain safe and effective staffing levels.
The leadership of the INMO nurses’ and midwives’ union held an emergency meeting on 10 November to discuss possible industrial action in response to the announcement by the Health Services Executive that it was extending its current recruitment freeze to almost all nursing and midwifery grades until the end of the year. The union said that the announcement came without documentation or consultation with the union and a request for a meeting was declined. INMO calculates that there are currently around 2,800 nursing and midwifery vacancies in the health service, which urgently need to be filled
The health unions CGT Santé et Action Sociale, FO Santé and UNSA Santé et Sociaux organised protests and strike action on 16 November in support of a range of demands for better pay and conditions, action on staffing and other issues. The unions are demanding measures to improve training and recruitment; a general pay rise; gender equality; increased funding for facilities and staff and a halt to all closures of establishments, services and beds. Better early retirement pension provision for arduous work and withdrawal of the new law on pensions were also part of the demands. EPSU sent a
The ZSSS trade union confederation reports that, following unsuccessful negotiations at the Ministry of Public Administration on 14 November, the SDOS public administration trade union organised one-day strike action the day after in seven administrative units across the country. The union demands include an increase in wages for seven pay brackets, improvements to allowances, and a decent level of remuneration for new recruits as part of measures to tackle the current staffing shortage. The SDOS has been pushing for some time for action on a range of issues and the government has failed to
Public services union ver.di reports that in the second round of negotiations for regional government employees on 3 November the employers failed to submit an offer and flatly rejected all essential union demands. Thousands of members of ver.di and other public sector unions joined warning strikes at the beginning of the second round of negotiations to show the strength of support for the unions’ key demands. Ver.di says that employers are turning a blind eye to massive staff shortages, the stress endured by many workers and inadequate levels of pay, particularly in comparison to federal and
The GÖD and younion public sector unions have been involved in the second round of bargaining over pay with the aim, as usual, to ensure that all public sector workers get a pay increase from 1 January. Alongside the surge in the cost of living the trade unions are underlining the increased burdens taken on by many workers, often as a result of staff shortages, as strong justification for a sustainable salary increase. The unions’ demands have been supported with a letter to the government negotiator from the head of the ÖGB trade union confederation. This highlights the massive contribution
The FNV and other trade unions have suspended their industrial action and mobilisations in the youth care sector pending negotiations on the basis of an improved pay offer from the employers. This involves a pay increase of 8% on 1 January 2024 and 1.25% on 1 July 2024 with an additional lump sum of €400. There would then be a 3% increase for 2025 and inflation compensation to a maximum of 2.25%, if inflation is higher than 3%. The minimum wage will rise to €15 per hour and the working-from-home allowance to €3 per day. This compares to the previous offer of a 6.7% increase and additional 2%
The ver.di trade union, leading negotiations covering 1.2 million workers in regional government, has set out the main claim for a 10.5% salary increase, but with a minimum increase of €500 a month. The demands also include an extra €200 for junior staff and trainees are to be taken on for an unlimited period. The unions want a 12-month agreement. Ver.di says employees have high expectations for the outcome of the negotiations and stresses that better pay and conditions are needed to help address the 300,000 staffing shortage across public services. An important aim will be to close the gap
The FNV and other trade unions have set a deadline of 1 November for employers in the youth sector to come up with an improved pay offer or they will aim for a major mobilisation on 20 November. This would be the 10th time in recent years that unions have had to take to the streets to push their demands. The unions argue that the employers’ “final offer” would only lead to more workers leaving the sector and further increases to staff shortages. The biggest stumbling block during the negotiations was inflation compensation for 2023. Following just a 1% pay increase on 3 January, the unions are
45 participants, including external speakers, discussed developments in the health and care sector taking place since the previous meeting in February of this year, including the urgent issue of staff shortages, retention and recruitment.
The Eurofound research agency has published a policy brief which underlines the need to tackle poor job quality among a range of essential occupations, including in the health and care, food systems, cleaning and refuse, transport and protective services sectors, along with manual workers in general. The report argues that these workers’ health and well-being were at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to be post-pandemic contributing to the labour shortages that persist in these sectors. The policy brief says that critical occupations facing staff shortages, such as jobs in health