2020 EPSU Collective Bargaining News June 11
IN THIS ISSUE
- Spain: Unions call on government to start negotiations
- Italy: Unions sign new agreement with Red Cross
- Germany: Latest on key negotiations
- Finland: 23-month agreement in local government finally agreed
- Europe: Commission launches next minimum wage consultation
- Sweden: Union warns of persistent lack of safety equipment in eldercare
- Austria: Union criticises government's care training proposal
- Sweden: Confederations attack labour law proposals
- Croatia: Public sector pay rises postponed
- Netherlands: Unions agree protective equipment guidance in care homes and home care
- UK: Health unions ensure workers get full overtime pay
- France: Health unions and service users plan national day of action
Jun. 04, 2020 The public service federations of the CCOO and UGT confederations have called on the government to negotiate a new agreement for public employees that will include provisions that allow for the recovery of rights, wages and employment that were cut as a result of austerity measures after the last crisis. The current agreement was signed in March 2018 and expires this year. The federations have three main priorities: the defence of public services; an increase in public employment, including a reduction of the rate of temporary employment and ending the restrictions on replacement of staff who leave; and continued steps to recover purchasing power and labour rights.
Jun. 04, 2020 The public service federations - Fp Cgil, Cisl Fp and Uil Fpl - have signed a new three-year agreement with the Red Cross, running until 2022. The overall pay increase will be around 4.5%, with the increases of €23,56, implemented on 1.12.2020, 1.12.2021 and 1.9.22. There are several other elements in the agreement including strengthening second level bargaining; the recognition of time taken to change into/out of uniforms as working time; the introduction of paid sick leave to look after children and revaluations of certain professions. Other provisions cover allowances for risks such as radiation, arduous work as well as pension and healthcare. Home care workers will see their travel time guaranteed as working time with a specific allowance.
Jun. 05, 2020 Progress with collective bargaining in the public sector has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Around 2.1 million workers are covered by the agreement for Federal and Municipal government which was last negotiated in 2018 and runs until 31 August this year. The trade union ver.di convened its collective bargaining committee earlier this month where it postponed the decision to formally give notice on the end of the agreement which would start negotiations. There will be an opening discussion with the VKA employers' organisation on 16 June and the collective bargaining committee will reconvene on 18 June to consider the options. Meanwhile, in specific negotiations covering workers in social and childcare only one of three planned negotiating meetings with the VKA have taken place and further meetings not yet confirmed. Negotiations on a collective agreement on digitalisation were due to start in April but have been postponed to August.
Jun. 05, 2020 The new collective agreement covering 420000 local government workers, including health care was finally agreed at the end of May and runs from 1.4.2020 to 28.2.2022. There will be a pay rise of 1.22% or at least 26 Euro on 1 August this year, followed by a further 1% on 1 April 2021. There is also a sum of 0.8% to be agreed at local level, valid from 1 April 2021. The annual 24 unpaid extra working hours agreed as part of a "competitiveness" pact with the then government in 2016 will end on 30 August this year. From September 2021 there will be a separate agreement covering healthcare workers as called for by the TEHY and Super trade unions. Unions were disappointed that the employers didn't agree to a COVID-19 bonus but this has not been completely ruled out.
Jun. 05, 2020 On 3 June, the European Commission launched the second-stage consultation on an initiative to deliver fair minimum wages. The deadline for responses is 4 September. In an initial reaction, the ETUC welcomed the greater emphasis on collective bargaining. However, there is no detailed proposal from the Commission. The ETUC has underlined the importance of action on wages, noting the impact of the current crisis and the fact that in several countries wages have yet to recover from the previous crisis. A draft response is due from the ETUC shortly and this will be discussed at an EPSU collective bargaining working group on 19 June.
Jun. 05, 2020 Municipal services union Kommunal reveals that 16% of workers in eldercare still don't have access to personal protective equipment (PPE). Although this figure has fallen from 37%, the union says that is still unacceptable and is also concerned that around a fifth of workers say that their workplaces are not following proper hygiene practices. Eldercare workers are not just calling for more PPE but also increased staffing to help deal with the impact of the pandemic which the union argues is far from over.
Jun. 05, 2020 The local government and health union, younion, has criticised new government proposals on nursing training that would be offered from the age of 15. The union argues that 15 is too young for people to be involved directly in care and the proposal won't address the shortages in care staff which can only be seriously tackled with better pay and conditions and improved training. Younion also believes it to be a misguided initiative to tackle youth unemployment and argues that it is based on a Swiss system which has a drop out rate of 50%-60%. The union says it has a package of proposals it can put to the government that would address youth unemployment.
Jun. 05, 2020 All three trade union confederations - LO, SACO and TCO - are highly critical of proposals emerging from a review of employment security legislation. The review is supported by the Centre and Liberal Party members of the government coalition but face criticism from labour minister, Eva Nordmark. The response from Nordmark was to stress that it is up to trade unions and employers to negotiate on the issue and the proposals go too far in the direction of the employers. Similar points are made by the confederations who say that it undermines employment security for workers in small firms and that more and better jobs are not delivered by making it easier to sack workers. The LO confederation will be launching an online petition and publicity campaign against the proposals.
Jun. 05, 2020 After four rounds of negotiations it was agreed that two pay rises of 2% foreseen for this year would be postponed and paid in January 2021. The existing collective agreement provided for the pay increases along with increases in other allowances and the Christmas bonus and the government had initially wanted to freeze all pay and allowances. However, the postponement was agreed and other allowances will be increased while the Christmas bonus will be negotiated later in the year.
Jun. 05, 2020 Trade unions, including FNV and NU'91, have agreed a set of guidelines on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers in nursing homes and those providing home care. This comes after union concern that existing guidance was unclear and created to confusion at the workplace. The unions and employers are also working together to ensure that there is sufficient PPE available not just to ensure that the guidance is applied in practice but also to provide for those workers who ask for PPE in other circumstances. Meanwhile in the central government sector negotiations on a new collective agreement are due to start on 11 June having been postponed from March. The current agreement will continue to apply even beyond its 1 July expiry date.
Jun. 05, 2020 Fifteen health trade unions, including six EPSU affiliates, have come together to agree a proposal that will help ensure that all health workers in England are properly compensated for the overtime they work. Measures to ensure proper payment for every hour worked for all NHS staff – including those on higher grades not usually able to claim overtime – is contained in a nine-point blueprint that should be applied at local level. The unions see this as important in guaranteeing that workers are properly rewarded for their extra efforts in responding to the pandemic in advance of the main negotiations on pay that will start in the summer.
Jun. 05, 2020 Ten health trade unions and organisations representing service users have come together to call for a national day of protest and strikes on 16 June. The joint action follows similar initiatives over the past year and more, highlighting that understaffing and underfunding have contributed to the difficulties faced in dealing with the pandemic. The key demands include increased funding, improved pay and conditions for health workers, action on training and recruitment, an end to closures of health facilities and guarantees on access and quality of services.