Fighting for the rights of migrants and asylum-seekers
Migration has major implications for public services not least because of the significant contribution of migrant workers to the provision of public services in many European countries. Thousands of public service employees across Europe work in areas related to migrations and asylum-seeking. Unfortunately, the European and national response to asylum-seekers has often fallen pitifully short of what should be expected from one of the wealthiest regions in the world and EPSU has been arguing hard for a change of approach, criticising the European Union’s policies which continue to focus on tightening borders, pushing back refugees and outsourcing asylum duties to third countries. EPSU, along with PSI, has also been calling for an end to privatisation and increased public investment in the public services that are vital to ensure the safe and effective integration of migrants and asylum-seekers into society. This briefing, prepared for EPSU's 2019 Congress provides some background on EPSU's activities in this area.
The five national trade union confederations sent a solidarity message to the MESZK chamber of healthcare professionals in support of its protest march in Budapest on 31 July. The demonstrators called for pay increases for nurses in line with those already awarded to doctors and argued this was crucial to help stem the migration of nurses to western Europe. Earlier this year the five confederations also came together to file a complaint with the International Labour Organisation over the government’s imposition of new legislation which removes the rights to negotiate and take strike action
The SINTAP public service trade union has negotiated a new collective agreement with the Inova company that provides waste, water and other municipal services in Cantanhede in the Coimbra district. The union highlights in particular the progressive reduction of working hours in 2022 and 2023 to 35 a week; changes to the timing of night work; additional holiday entitlement – an extra day for each 10 years of service and general increase in annual leave to 25 by 2023. There will also be increases to meal and other allowances as well as higher pay. In contrast, the STAL local government union
Poor treatment of employees, outdated equipment and low quality of services – outsourcing and privatisation of municipal services has similar negative effects whether it takes place in Poland or Norway.
Workers at the national water company, AdP, took strike action on 11 June over pay and long-standing problems with working conditions. The STAL trade union reported very high levels of support for the action with workers angry that company profits and investments have been increased while the situation for employees has deteriorated. The union is call for a €90 pay increase and minimum wage of €850; new measures on careers and professional development that value and recognize the knowledge, experience and commitment of workers; a progressive reduction of working hours to 35 hours a week
In the wake of the global financial crisis, neoliberal restructuring has continued unabated across Europe, with the privatisation of public services a key element of both national austerity policies, and European Union (EU) – level economic governance structures.
The GSEE and ADEDY private and public sector trade union confederations organised a 24-hour general strike on 10 June in protest at draft legislation on labour law changes. The confederations are particularly concerned that the new law will allow individual worker contracts that will undermine the eight-hour day and increase overtime. They are also protesting over further attacks on the right to strike and the weakening of the labour inspectorate. EPSU sent a solidarity message. Meanwhile, the OME-EYDAP water trade union has been mobilising to resist job cuts and other threats to pay and
The FNV trade union reports that pay rates for water authority workers are set to increase by EUR 50, backdated to 1 January 2021. There will also be two increases of 0.5% to the individual choice budget (IKB) as of 1 January and 1 July. The union says that on average, this amounts to a 2.05% salary increase. The personal basic budget (PBB) will be increased from EUR 5,000 to at least EUR 6,000 for five years. The IKB and PBB can be used to exchange salary for other benefits such as annual leave. The new agreement also includes provisions on standby duty allowance and parental leave
Unions in the AdP – Águas de Portugal – water company will be planning mobilisations and potential strike action unless the company responds to some key demands. The STAL trade union reports that many issues have remained unsolved for several years. Unions accuse the company of making excuses for its failure to properly implement the collective agreement signed almost two and a half years ago, with no pay rise since November 2018 and no plans to introduce the allowance for dangerous and arduous work that it now being applied across many municipalities. The unions submitted a review of the