2018 March epsucob@NEWS 06
Issue 6, March 2018
- Denmark: Widespread support for unions facing lockout
- UK: Unions consult on NHS pay offer
- Germany: Warning strikes planned in public sector negotiations
- Spain: Unions sign deal to restore pay and conditions
- France: Another massive mobilisation in eldercare
- Romania: Health union protests over pay and bonuses
- Russia: Average pay in health increases above inflation
- Sweden: Union sets out proposals on eldercare staffing
- Switzerland: Union attacks government rejection of care initiative
- Ireland: Unions secure talks on entry-level pay
- Netherlands: Ambulance negotiations to focus on staffing
- Europe: EPSU conference on quality employment
- Germany: Actions in health and energy deliver pay increases
- Europe: Benchmarking study shows wage and bargaining trends
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. 19, 2018 Members of the ver.di services union have secured pay increases following action in both the health and energy sectors. After more than a year in dispute, the union has managed to negotiate a new pay deal for workers at the CFM facilities management company. Around 1600 low paid workers will benefit from a basic pay rate of EUR 11 an hour which will mean increases worth 10%-16%. The union will be building on the solidarity maintained over the course of the dispute in preparation for next year's bargaining round which will begin no later than 1 July. In the energy sector 4500 employees at EON took part in warning strikes that helped to deliver a 3% pay increase and EUR 1100 lump sum for around 10000 workers. Apprentices will also get an EUR 85 increase and EUR 500 lump sum. There will also be two extra days' leave for ver.di members only.
Mar. 19, 2018 Ten trade union organisations, supported by users and their families, directors and doctors, organised a second day of national strike action and protests in the eldercare sector. Over 200000 people joined demonstrations around the country boosted by protests in support of pensioner rights. The unions in eldercare want increased funding, a commitment to a one-to-one staffing ratio and improved pay and career development. The action lead to a meeting with health minister Agnès Buzyn but with no concrete response from the government as yet.
Mar. 19, 2018 Public service trade unions have secured talks with the government to deal with the issue of low pay for new entrants. In 2011, as part of austerity measures, the government introduced two new lower pay grades for new recruits. This was not agreed by trade unions at the time and they have continued to demand action by the government. It is estimated that 60000 workers have been taken on since 2011 and have started on these lower rates of pay.
Mar. 19, 2018 Staffing levels will be a priority for the negotiations over a new agreement in the ambulance sector. The FNV trade union has been organising a series of work-to-rule actions in the sector to highlight the urgent problem of understaffing. While extra funding for the service was agreed by the government last year, the union launched the protests as there was no guarantee that enough would be allocated to ensuring increased recruitment to the sector. The FNV wants to see improvements to pay and training to tackle staffing shortages, with many workers attracted to better pay and working time arrangements in other parts of the health service.
Mar. 19, 2018 The annual Benchmarking Working Europe study from the European Trade Union Institute includes a section providing the latest data on wage developments, collective bargaining, minimum wage and union density. The study notes that more positive statements about wages are coming from the European institutions with issues of fairness also raised in the European PIllar of Social Rights. However, these were not yet reflected in the Country Specific Recommendations issued last year where the focus was still on decentralisation of collective bargaining and moderation in minimum wage increases. The study found that wage developments had tended to slow down over 2017 while there had been some convergence in minimum wages as increase in Central and Eastern Europe were higher than in the rest of the European Union. Trends in collective bargaining coverage and union density were still negative overall.
Mar. 20, 2018 The Sanitas health union began a series of demonstrations outside the ministeries of labour, public finance and health on 20 March in protest at the government's failure to deal with long-standing issues related to health and social service workers' pay and bonuses. The union wants a pay increase for all workers in the sector backdated to 1 March and an end to limits imposed on bonus payments. Sanitas also wants to ensure that workers don't lose out on their take-home pay following a government decision to increase workers' social contributions. Four days of demonstrations are planned for March and a national rally will follow in April. The union is mobilising members for possible strike action if the government doesn't respond.
Mar. 20, 2018 The health workers' union reports on official data for average wages in the health sector showing an overall average of 32815 rubles (EUR 463) a month in 2017, up by 5.9% from 2016. Doctors' pay averaged 56448 rubles (EUR 796) up 11.4% on 2016 while medical personnel saw their average pay increase by 7.4% to 30246 rubles (EUR 426). Average pay for junior medical staff was 21413 rubles (EUR 302), 16.1% higher than in 2016. Inflation during 2017 fell from 5% in January to 2% by the end of the year. Overall average wages across Russia were around 40000 rubles a month (EUR 564).
Mar. 20, 2018 On 6-7 June, EPSU is holding a second conference in Brussels in the context of its current project on quality employment and quality public services. Along with special sessions looking at the prisons and childcare sectors there will also be debates on pay trends in the public sector compared to the private sector; low pay in sectors dominated by women; young workers and quality employment; a panel on developments in collective bargaining and some initial research findings on the impact of digitalisation on the home care and public employment services.
Mar. 21, 2018 Services union ver.di is organising warning strikes across the country in the lead-up to the third round of negotiations covering federal and local government which are due to begin on 15 April. With no concrete pay offer from the employers at the second round of negotiations, ver.di argues that the warning strikes are needed to put pressure on them to take a constructive approach at the bargaining table. The union wants a pay rise of 6% with a EUR 200 a month minimum increase to help the low paid. For ver.di it is crucial to increase pay to make jobs in the sector more attractive and keep pay in line with developments in the private sector.
Mar. 21, 2018 Health service unions are consulting their members over whether to accept a three-year pay offer which would mean workers at the top of their pay grade would get a 6.5% increase between April 2018 and April 2020, marking a break with the government's 1% pay cap in the public sector. All but the very highest paid staff would get 3% in April 2018, 1.7% and a 1.1% lump sum in April 2019, and 1.7% from April 2020. However, changes to the pay structure would mean significant increases of 15%-17% for the lowest paid. The government has also confirmed that it will fully fund the pay rises. Most unions are recommending to their members that they accept the deal. However, the GMB union argues that the 6.5% will be inadequate to cover forecast inflation.
Mar. 21, 2018 The vpod/ssp public services union has criticised the federal government for rejecting an initiative on care launched by the nurses' trade union without coming up with any alternative solutions to tackle the increasingly urgent situation in the sector. The vpod/ssp says that hospitals and care homes face a 10000 staffing shortage with many health and care workers facing excessive working hours and work pressure that is a threat to their own health. The union says that the government must face up to the need to tackle this crisis and ensure working conditions that protect the health of care workers and stem the flow of workers out of the sector.
Mar. 22, 2018 Kommunal, the municipal workers' union, has published a report highlighting the staffing challenges facing the eldercare sector. According to a survey by the union, 27% of workers in the sector say they want to leave over the next three years. Kommunal's report comes up with a number of proposals to make working in eldercare more attractive including ensuring proper staffing levels, creating more opportunities for career development, recognising the knowledge and experience of staff, establishing specialised eldercare educational provision, reviewing the number of employees per manager and ensuring they have adequate resources.
Mar. 22, 2018 Many public service unions from across Europe have sent solidarity messages to their colleagues in Denmark for their mass meeting today (22 March). All public service unions have mobilised to bring together an estimated 10000 workplace representatives to discuss their tactics in the current industrial dispute. With negotiations stalled the unions had planned to organise tartgeted strike action in April, should current attempts at mediation fail. In response, the employers have threatened a massive lockout. While the unions had planned to involve around 10% of workers in the action, the employers said they would lock out 90% of state workers and half of all municipal workers. The unions are concerned that the employers are trying to escalate the dispute in order to force the government to intervene, a move that would undermine the whole basis of the Danish collective bargaining system.