2020 EPSU Collective Bargaining News September no.18
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Germany: : Warning strikes under way in federal and local government
- Italy: Massive support for private health care strike
- Europe: ETUC wants concrete action from European Commission on pay and bargaining
- Spain: Unions sign telework agreement
- Netherlands: Union calls for COVID compensation for health and care workers
- Sweden: State sector unions set out bargaining priorities
- Portugal: Call to implement allowance for arduous and high-risk jobs
- UK: Union secures major legal victory on pay for home care workers
- France: Unions welcome extension of paternity leave
- Ireland: Union negotiates new deal for hospital pharmacists
- Belgium: 48-hour national strike in prisons over safety concerns
- Germany: Private hospital workers see pay rise in line with public sector
Sep. 23, 2020 Service union ver.di has launched warning strikes across federal and local government to put pressure on the employers following the second round of bargaining. The union reports that the two-day meeting was a waste of time with no offer from the employers and no real appreciation or recognition of the work done by public sector employees. The employers have indicated that they will come up with an offer before the next round of negotiations which are due on 22-23 October. However, ver.di is not expecting much as on one key issue - equalisation of working time between Eastern and Western Germany - the employers have already suggested that this won't happen before 2025. Ver.di describes this as a real slap in the face for workers in the East
Sep. 23, 2020 The three public service federations - Fp Cgil, Cisl Fp and Uil Fpl - reported fantastic levels of support for the national strike in the private health care sector. In many facilities all workers not providing minimum services joined the strike action. This shows the level of determination of workers to secure the first new collective agreement for 14 years. The Aris and Aiop employer organisations refused to ratify the agreement in June after three years of negotiations and after initially indicated their backing for the deal. The negotiations cover around 100000 workers.
Sep. 23, 2020 The ETUC has welcomed statements from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that she supports collective bargaining and decent minimum wages, however, it wants to see the concrete details which are not expected to be revealed before 28 October. Von der Leyen's State of the European Union speech refers to the problem of low pay while in an interview in Sweden she underlined her support for collective bargaining. She also stressed that the Commission would guarantee protection for strong collective bargaining systems like those in Sweden and would not force the introduction of national minimum wages where they don't currently exist. The ETUC is discussing an action plan to lobby EU institutions and Member States to ensure that any directive on collective bargaining and minimum wages meets the key criteria set out in its reply to the second stage consultation on fair minimum wages. Researchers Torsten Müller and Thorsten Schulten have written an article explaining the background to the thinking on the ETUC's minimum wage threshold.
Sep. 24, 2020 The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have signed a new agreement on telework covering 2.5 million public sector employees. The agreement includes basic principles that telework arrangements should be voluntary and reversible and subject to key provisions relating to health and safety, equality, transparency and objectivity. The agreement protects employee rights as well as guaranteeing services for citizens. Other important elements include a right to disconnect, data protection and the right to privacy. The unions have called for negotiations at various levels of government to follow quickly to ensure implementation of the new agreement.
Sep. 24, 2020 The FNV trade union has called for compensation for employees in health and social care who have been infected with Covid-19 due to the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and criticises the government for failing to take appropriate action to protect workers and citizens. From 1 April Covid-19 was recognised as an occupational disease and the FNV argues that the government should have acted immediately to ensure provision of PPE. The union is considering legal action over the issue, noting that it has repeatedly raised problems with PPE in several meetings with various ministries. The FNV also wants the government to set up a fund to provide financial compensation to all those who have become infected at work because they have been deprived of PPE and have suffered as a result.
Sep. 24, 2020 The nine state sector unions in the OFR/S,P,O bargaining council have set out their main priorities for the upcoming bargaining round. Underlining the need to maintain a skilled workforce in the public sector the unions want to see pay follow developments in the private sector. They are also calling for greater working time flexibility to suit employees rather than the needs of employers. With the increase in telework as a result of the pandemic, the unions are calling for a joint review of telework rules. They are also raising issues in relation to employment security and health and well-being.
Sep. 24, 2020 The STAL local government union organised an action outside parliament on 16 September as part of its long-running campaign to secure special allowances for workers doing arduous, unhealthy or high-risk jobs. The union says that legislation has been in place since 1989 to allow for this but never implemented. STAL underlines the fact that even in normal circumstances thousands of municipal workers deliver essential services in risky working conditions and that this is even more the case with COVID-19. Along with the demonstration the union has written an open letter to the government, MPs and local authorities calling for rectification of what it describes as a flagrant injustice.
Sep. 24, 2020 Public service union UNISON has won a major legal victory for 10 home care workers who are set to share £100000 (EUR 109000) in compensation for underpayment of wages. The case involves the failure of private contractors to pay to cover travelling time between jobs. It could have major implications for other home care workers and UNISON is calling on the government to act to outlaw the practice. Effectively, some of the workers were being paid less than half the minimum wage by being denied payment for travel time - an essential part of their work as home care staff - with some working as long as 14 hours a day.
Sep. 24, 2020 Trade unions have welcomed the legislation that will see a doubling of the entitlement to paternity leave from 14 to 28 days, including three compulsory days around the time of birth. The measure will be implemented from July 2021. Although unions have been calling for even longer leave, they see this as an important step in the right direction and an important initiative to increase the share of parenting between men and women. Employers cover three days of leave while the rest will be funded by social security and employers will face fines if they deny workers their rights.
Sep. 25, 2020 The Forsa public services union has negotiated a new agreement covering pharmacists in acute hospitals that includes a number of major improvements to pay and conditions. These include a shorter pay scale, an enhanced career structure, additional specialist and new senior posts, in addition to greater protections on the issue of weekend services, out of hours and extended working days. The union will now submit a similar claim to cover pharmacists working in community facilities.
Sep. 25, 2020 The three main trade unions - CGSP/ACOD, ACV/CSC and SLFP/VSOA - organised a 48-hour national strike from 6am on 24 September in protest at proposals to relax the rules on prisoner visits. The unions are extremely concerned that the proposed changes come at a time of increasing infection and pose a serious threat to staff and inmates.
Sep. 25, 2020 The ver.di service union has negotiated a new collective agreement covering 8500 employees of the Sana private healthcare group. The 24-month agreement will run until 31 May 2022 and will mean pay increases of 6%-18% as workers are moved on to new pay scales that bring them in line with pay in public sector hospitals. The deal includes a EUR 650 lump sum to cover the period June to December 2020 and then from 1 January 2021 employees in acute hospitals will move onto the new pay structure while other workers will get a 3.5% rise. From 1 January 2022 a new pay structure will apply in rehabilitation clinics and there will be a general pay rise of 2.5%. As part of the agreement ver.di members will also get an extra two days' leave. The agreement covers 16 facilities in the Sana Group. Other arrangements apply elsewhere with 10 facilities applying the public sector agreement.