May. 08, 2020 Trade unions have strongly criticised the health minister for publishing two Royal decrees affecting health workers. The first would allow non-nursing staff to carry out some nursing duties. Unions say there are no details on how this would work in practice. The second provides powers to requisition health staff to work. The unions argue that this comes at a time when the infection rate is beginning to fall but more importantly was not even needed at the height of the crisis when health workers were doing all they could do fight the pandemic. The unions say that the decrees have been imposed without proper consultation and in the fact of strong opposition and that they risk to generate a wave of discontent and protest among health workers.
Mar. 05, 2020 Members of the CNE and SETCA trade unions working at an eldercare home in Waterloo, south of Brussels, took strike action on 3 March to put pressure on management in advance of a conciliation meeting. The unions have been calling for action on staffing levels and say that currently employees are under so much pressure that they can only spend 16 minutes with each resident. Representatives of EPSU joined the picket. The home is run by the Orpea multinational and messages of solidarity were also sent from the ver.di union in Germany.
Dec. 17, 2019 Trade unions (ACV/CSC and ACOD/CGSP) organised a national strike in the prisons service on 12 December in protest at underfunding, badly maintained buildings, lack of staff, overcrowding and the resulting safety issues arising from this deteriorating situation. Understaffing has lead to many employees doing extra hours and a massive number of hours of overtime that remains to be recouped. The unions also have issues with contracts, provision of uniforms and a lack of strategy in the justice system. It is estimated that prisons currently hold around 10000 in mates, exceeding capacity by 1700.
Oct. 24, 2019 Health and social care unions from all three trade union confederations took strike action on 24 October to put pressure on the employers to resolve issues in the non-profit sector negotiations. Trade unions are particularly concerned to resolve problems around stability and predictability of working hours and contracts, right to annual leave, action to tackle burn-out and training. The unions say that most private hospitals were affected with action also taking place in the social care sector.
Oct. 09, 2019 Trade unions in the health sector are set to take joint strike action on 24 October unless there are positive developments in the sector negotiations that resume on 14 October. Some demonstrations have already taken place but the unions are concerned about the lack of progress on substantial questions such as funding, worsening conditions, excessive flexibility and overworks and staff shortages.
Jul. 25, 2019 The CNE trade union has been organising regular actions each Tuesday to highlight the pressure of work, understaffing and poor pay and conditions in hospitals, care homes and other health and social service institutions. It plans to resume the actions in September and has criticised hospital employers for failing to engage fully in negotiations to improve pay and working conditions. The CNE highlights in particular the failure of the employers to provide data on a new job and salary classification system that would have allowed an analysis of implementation of the system and discussions about the next phase of implementation.
Jun. 20, 2019 The CNE trade union is organising a series of weekly actions in the health and care sector to raise awareness of the serious problems relating to workloads and poor working conditions in hospitals and other care institutions. The union is coming up with a range of inventive actions on each "white-shirt" Tuesday to highlight the demands of workers to make the sector more attractive. The third Tuesday (18 June) focused on care homes and the poor pay and working conditions of care workers, particularly in home run by multinational companies.
Feb. 15, 2019 The general strike on 13 February called by the three trade union confederations was strongly supported across the country. One of the main aims of the strike was to put pressure on the employers to come up with a better pay offer in the national cross-sector negotiations. However, the unions had a broader list of demands that also covered young workers, equality, pensions, public services, poverty and tax justice.
Jan. 29, 2019 The three main trade union confederations - ACV/CSC, FGTB/ABVV, CGLSB/ACLVB - have called a general strike on 13 February to support their position in the cross-sector negotiations where the employers are refusing to negotiate on key issues and where a government re-calculation of data has produced a negotiating margin of only 0.8% for pay. The unions want to see action on early retirement provision, a minimum pension of EUR 1500 a month, an increase in pay in general as well as a push for a minimum wage of EUR 14 an hour. The other demands include equal pay for equal work and a strengthening of public services and better conditions for public service workers.
Jun. 29, 2018 The CSC/ACV and CGSP/ACOD unions representing prison workers have taken strike action in protest at government plans to legislate on limiting their right to strike. EPSU sent a solidarity message to the unions highlighting the deteriorating conditions and overcrowding in prisons across the country and the importance of having the right to strike to highlight the need for urgent action to address these problems and reverse the impact of austerity. Rather than attack trade union rights, EPSU argues that the federal government should open negotiations to tackle the critical situation facing the prison service.
May. 18, 2018 The three main trade union confederations organised a national demonstration in Brussels on 16 May in protest at government plans to reform the pensions system. The estimated 70000-strong march was nearly three times the size of a similar demonstration in December, showing the strength of opposition to government policy which includes raising the pension age from 65 to 67. Some of the key demands include a minimum pension that delivers an adequate standard of living, gradual alignment of private and public sector pensions and proper account taken of arduous jobs and sickness and injury in calculating pensions.
May. 03, 2018 The three main public service federations took strike action on 30 April in protest at proposals for significant reductions to civil service employment rights and benefits. In a major cost-cutting reform plan the government wants to employ more workers on contracts, including temporary contracts, and reduce the number of civil servants on statutory conditions to a minimum. It is also looking to cut holiday entitlement and reduce certain sickness and pension benefits.
Jan. 25, 2018 Prison staff unions in Belgium, France and Spain have been taking or are planning industrial action or demonstrations over staffing and pay. In France, the unions have raised concerns about prison overcrowding, violence against staff, the need for a significant increase in prison officer numbers and improvements to pay and conditions. After failing to get a satisfactory response from the justice ministry, the unions are calling for an extension of the action across the country. In Belgium, the issue is the failure of the government to adhere to a 2016 agreement on staffing levels and further action is planned over several dates in January and early February. Spanish unions are planning a national day of action on 24 February over staff shortages, pay and, in particular, major and unjustified differences in pay for the same job in different institutions.
Nov. 30, 2017 The CGSP and CSC public service federations in Wallonia organised strike action on 30 November over the failure of the regional government to respect agreements that it has signed. The unions had been warning from early September that urgent action was required. The issues involve a commitment to permanent status for contract workers, shorter working time, filling of vacant posts to ensure service quality and revaluing low salaries for workers on the level B pay grade.