On 20th September 2023 the EPSU Childcare network met to discuss monitoring and evaluation in early childhood education and care, and the results of a survey on working conditions and professionalisation.
The trade union-linked Hans Böckler research organisation has published a new survey uncovering worrying gaps in childcare provision across the country. It says that 10 years after the legal right to childcare from the age of one came into force, there is a shortage of childcare places. Further, it reveals that a large proportion of working or job-seeking parents who officially have a place for their child don’t have reliable care, with 57% confronted with reductions in childcare hours and/or even temporary closures of facilities due to staff shortages this spring. Two-thirds of those surveyed
EPSU affiliates Fagforbundet and Delta, along with other unions, have been involved in negotiating a series of similar pay deals for workers covered by different private sector collective agreements. Assistants and skilled workers in the PBL group of kindergartens got a NOK 25800 (€2200) addition on annual salaries while teachers and education leaders received NOK 30000 (€2560). The overall cost increase of 5.4% is in line with the public sector increase. A 5.4% rise will also cover childcare facilities run by Norlandia which has moved to the agreement negotiated by the Spekter employers’
A trade union alliance involving the CNE, CSC Services Publics, CGSP, SETCA, CGSLB and SLPF coordinated a demonstration in Brussels on 26 April to raise concerns about the state of childcare provision. The protest involved a delegation meeting with the minister for children and health in the Brussels-Wallonia Federation with demands to tackle the long-standing problems of understaffing and precarious work and to prevent the extension of private, for-profit provision across the sector. The union were supported by non-profit providers in the sector.
Following a successful strike over pensions at the PBL employers’ organisation, the Fagforbundet trade union has managed to secure improved occupational pensions for employees in kindergartens covered by the NHO Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise. The four-week strike in NHO companies ended on 17 March with negotiations guaranteeing that the portion of public subsidies intended for pension purposes will be fully applied and that savings rates for pensions will also be guaranteed rather than varying from one kindergarten to another. The deal also means that employers are not tempted to
Following successful strike action in private childcare providers last autumn represented by the PBL employers’ organisation, the Fagforbundet trade union is again calling its members out on strike this time in the companies that are part of the NHO employers’ organisation. The aim is to ensure that workers in NHO companies are entitled to pensions on the same basis as municipal workers and those in the PBL agreement. This means a pension guaranteed for life and on a gender-equal basis and with some protection against the fluctuations of the stock market. Strikes began in a first group of
A one-day strike by ver.di members at airports around the country took place on 17 February partly in support of the negotiations in federal and municipal government and partly in support of separate negotiations in ground handling services and aviation security. On 13 February, ver.di members around the country submitted early years education plans to local archives and museums as a gesture to highlight that they are currently impossible to implement. The union estimates that childcare services currently lack of 170,000 trained staff. Ver.di has also negotiated an agreement on staffing at the
The public services union ver.di has published early results of a major study of workers in social services that reveals the high risks of burnout and exhaustion faced by many workers in the sector. The survey covers more than 8,200 employees in childcare, disability assistance, youth welfare offices and other areas of social work. It found that since the pandemic many employees often skip the legally required rest breaks and 40% stated that they regularly work three or more hours overtime a week as well. Over 65% of respondents say that they are under time pressure at work, with more than 80%
The SuPer health and care union has published findings from a survey of workers in early years education that found more than half (53%) of respondents felt that the quality of service had deteriorated over the past five years with insufficient staff seen as the main problem. Over 1,000 union members replied to the survey, with 88% saying that they had experienced staff shortages in their work unit on at least a monthly basis. They survey also found that the increase in other tasks meant that workers had less time for direct contact with children. Almost 80% of respondents are considering
After four rounds of negotiations, employers in the childcare sector have failed to improve the pay increase offered at the beginning of November – a 10.15% increase over two years. The FNV trade union argues that this is insufficient to protect against inflation and deliver the level of pay that would help address staff shortages. The union claim is for a 12.9% increase over 12 months. At the beginning of November, the unions launched a petition, now signed over 15,000 times, to make it clear to employers that a decent wage increase is desperately needed to keep the sector attractive to work
The FNV trade union reports that the employers have stalled the negotiations in the childcare sector after three rounds of bargaining. The union says that while the employers acknowledge the major problems of overwork and understaffing they are not willing to take the urgent action required to tackle them. The FNV wants a one-year agreement covering 2023 that will deliver a pay rise compensating for inflation plus €100 a month, a minimum hourly wage of €14.00 and an increase in the end-of-year bonus from 3% to 5% of salary. It has also proposed improvements in work-life balance in relation to
The SIPTU trade union has called for the pay rates of workers in early years education to keep pace with the Living Wage following the announcement that it is to increase by €0.95, taking it to €13.85 per hour. Childcare professionals secured an historic first pay deal this year, establishing a minimum rate of pay of €13 per hour. This was €0.10 cent over the Living Wage at the time. The union is now calling on the government and employers to deliver a pay increase to reflect the rise in the cost of living otherwise all the work done to address low pay, high staff turnover and the recruitment
Following the failure of voluntary mediation between unions and the PBL private childcare employers’ organisation, over 500 more workers were set to join the strike action from Monday 14 November, taking the total to around 3600. The three unions involved – Fagforbundet, Delta and the education union – are calling on PBL to provide a pension scheme comparable to that covering the municipal sector and already applied in other parts of the private sector. If the current PBL scheme is maintained then workers could lose out by between NOK 50,000-70,000 (€4840-6780) a year. Mandatory mediation is
The public service unions Fagforbundet and Delta, along with the UF teachers’ union, are stepping up their industrial action to secure better pension rights for workers in private kindergartens. The action began on 17 October when mediation with the PBL employers’ organisation failed. More workers were due to join the action on 27 October which aims to ensure that workers covered by the PBL agreement have the same pension rights as childcare workers in municipalities. The action is getting widespread support, including a delegation from EPSU and its affiliates, and has helped boost union
This week, the EPSU Childcare Network met to discuss monitoring and evaluation of early childhood education and care, the capacity of ECEC systems to welcome Ukrainian children and ECEC staff, and child : staff ratios.