On September 7th, 2023, EPSU met with the European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) to discuss the pressing need for improved coordination of joint firefighting operations.
The group discussed recent developments on worker protection in the EU and beyond, an interactive risk assessment tool in healthcare, and the revisions of directives on Carcinogens and Mutagens and Reprotoxins (CMRD 5) and asbestos.
The three national trade union confederations – SAK, STTK and AKAVA – are extremely concerned about the new centre-right coalition government’s wide-ranging programme of attacks on trade union and workers’ rights and are planning events and protests in response. The government, which includes representatives of the far-right Finns Party is planning to impose restrictions on sympathetic and political strike action, a €200 fine for individual strikers when a strike is found to be illegal and a dramatic increase in fines on trade union for illegal action. It is also likely that further
The ÖGB trade union confederation has called for a national protest on 20 September to put pressure on the government to address the cost-of-living crisis. The confederation estimates that food inflation alone has increased the annual bill for a family with two children by €1234, with higher energy costs adding a further €1335 on average. The ÖGB is calling for action on housing costs, including a freeze on rents, as well as measures to ensure affordable energy and a tax on energy companies’ excessive profits. The demonstration on 20 September will create a human chain around the national
EPSU sent a letter to the Ministry of Health in support of demands by the LVSADA trade union that promised pay increases for health workers should be honoured. The union says that in April this year the Ministry made a commitment to award doctors a 4.5% pay increase this year along with pay rises for other medical staff. The union called for the increases to be applied from 1 July and then conceded 1 September as a fall-back date. However, the Ministry is now claiming that funding is not available for pay increases as the priority is to focus on increasing services. LVSADA is clear that unless
Retained firefighters organised by the SIPTU union have voted to end their dispute and accept an offer that includes measures on recruitment, pay and time off. The union hopes that these will help resolve serious staff shortages. Meanwhile, the Fórsa trade union is involved in disputes in health and local government. The union has agreed to suspend planned industrial action by health workers set to begin on 11 September. Fórsa will now continue negotiations in at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in relation to career progression for eight groups of health and social care professionals
Negotiations for a new agreement in local government are set to begin on 22 September and a survey of over 21000 workers (50% union members and 50% non-members) by the FNV and other unions reveals increasing dissatisfaction with pay, particularly among the lower paid. In 2020, 55% of respondents said that they were (very) satisfied with the total income (pay and allowances) but this fell to 42% in 2022 and has now dropped to 39%. Among the lower paid, 35% of employees in scales 1 to 5 are (very) dissatisfied. The survey is part of the preparation and consultation process to make workers aware