Oct. 23, 2020 22 October saw public services union ver.di involved in two major negotiations. The third round of bargaining covering municipal and federal employees was underway with ver.di underlining the importance of a decent settlement in recognition of the work carried out by public service workers during the current pandemic. The union expects the employers to continue to stress the problems facing public finance and to push for a long-term deal with small pay increases. Ver.di mobilised through warning strikes and online action in the lead up to the negotiations. Meanwhile, negotiations covering 50000 employees of the German Red Cross got underway with ver.di calling for a 5.5% increase in a 12-month agreement with a minimum increase of EUR 150 a month. The union wants additional payments for emergency service staff and care workers and a 35% bonus for anyone working with COVID-19 patients. Verdi is also calling for an end to the practice of working additional hours with no extra pay.
Oct. 23, 2020 The ETUC and Eurocadres - the European body representing managers and professionals - have launched a campaigned calling for EU legislation to tackle stress at work which they say is all the more important in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While increased stress was already a major concern for many trade unions, the impact of the pandemic has increased the urgency for action with workers worried about their jobs while those working from home facing new pressures that affect their mental health. Endstress.eu is the campaign website with all the key arguments for why action at European level is needed.
Oct. 23, 2020 With the European Commission expected to publish its draft directive on fair minimum wages on 28 October, the ETUC has put together a range of documents and press releases that cover a wide range of arguments in favour of legislation on minimum wages and collective bargaining. The ETUC argues that initiatives to boost pay and strengthen collective bargaining are essential as part of the response to the pandemic and that it is crucial not to repeat the mistakes following the last crisis when collective bargaining was undermined in some countries as part of austerity measures.
Oct. 23, 2020 Public services union younion joined with the GPA-djp and vida private services unions in a protest outside a meeting of the advisory council on early years education. Supported by the ÖGB confederation and Chamber of Labour, the unions expressed their disappointment that they weren't involved in the council which was set to make important recommendations that would affect the 61500 workers in the sector. The unions argue that the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of the sector and are calling for national quality standards, including staffing levels, to be introduced to end the fragmentation of the sector where rules can vary from region to region and municipality to municipality. They also want to see spending increased so that it reaches the EU average of 1% of GDP (economic output), up from the current 0.67%.
Oct. 23, 2020 Latest data indicate that average salaries in healthcare across the country for the first six months of 2020 were 9% higher than for the same period in 2019.The healthworkers' union says that special payments for working with COVID-19 patients has contributed to this bearing in mind that many healthworkers would not be on full pay because of sickness or isolation measures. However, the union has made it clear to the government that there have been problems with ensuring the extra payments apply to all hours worked and that any change to the payments system has to guarantee the COVID bonus for any additional hours, including for part-time workers.
Oct. 21, 2020 The FNV, NU'91 and other health unions have welcomed the decision by the health minister to support their demands on personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and social care staff. The unions have been calling since March for workers to be able to decide when they need to use PPE and to have the appropriate equipment available. The unions had criticised the guidance from the RIVM public health institute which left discretion to employers and which, unions believed, had been drawn up with the scarcity of equipment in mind. The unions' approach puts this discretion in the hands of care workers and a statement to that effect has already been circulated by some employers in the care sector.
Oct. 08, 2020 ADEDY, the public service confederation, has called a 24-hour strike on 15 October. It has a wide range of demands starting with calls for increased funding for healthcare, filling vacancies and taking appropriate anti-COVID 19 action with provision of personal protective equipment and extension and increase in allowances for dangerous and unhealthy work. ADEDY also wants to see action across the public services to tackle staff shortages and recruit more workers on permanent contracts and to stop privatisation.
Oct. 06, 2020 The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have criticised the government for failing to address major problems of recruitment and promotion in the state administration. They say that around 43000 jobs – nearly 20% of the total – have been cut over the last 10 years and the situation now poses a threat to service delivery including in some key COVID-19-related work. The unions want to see the appointment of 20000 employees, promotion for around 14000 and permanent status for around 5000 temporary workers. There has been a severe delay in appointing or promoting people who have been through the selection process. The unions argue it is also unacceptable to resort to outsourcing to deliver the services that should be provided by directly employed workers.
Oct. 05, 2020 The Kommunal municipal workers’ union has submitted its claims for this year’s delayed negotiations with the SKR and Sobona employer organisations. The union is underlining that its key demands on pay, working hours and other conditions are fundamental to recognise the efforts made by local and regional government workers and health and social care staff in dealing with last year’s fires and the current pandemic. Kommunal is calling for a 3% pay rise for all workers with an additional 0.5% distributed locally to vocationally trained groups in health care, schools and care. The agreement should also be backdated recognising that the delayed negotiations have left workers waiting since spring for a pay rise. Other demands include permanent contracts for fixed-term employees with vocational training after 12 months; more sustainable working hours; a reduction in split shifts; full-time work as the norm; shorter weekly hours (32) for night work; more and better leave and an end to the waiting period for sick pay.
Oct. 05, 2020 Along with two other organisations representing health professionals, the vpod/ssp public services union is organising a week of action from 26-31 October demanding better pay and conditions and more staff in healthcare. The action will highlight the long working hours and risks faced by health workers during the pandemic and the long-term need to revaluate jobs in the sector. A series of actions will take place during the week with a national protest planned for Berne on 31 October. Meanwhile the union was also active in a demonstration in Zürich on 26 September calling for better pay and conditions for childcare workers and more public funding for a sector dominated by for-profit providers.
Oct. 05, 2020 Following negotiations with the younion public services union, the city authorities in Vienna have agreed to an additional 1000 jobs in health care to help cope with the continuing pandemic. The union underlines the fact that the social partnership between the union and the city authorities means that problems around staffing can be regularly discussed and resolved. Two specific areas that will benefit are health information and advice services that will get 150 new posts and emergency services where 75 new jobs will be allocated. Younion believes that Vienna is setting an important example that other parts of government should follow.
Oct. 05, 2020 FNV, NU'91 and other health and social care unions say that they are appalled that the government has failed to implement a directive on personal protective equipment (PPE) that was put to parliament four months ago. The new regulations would make clear that health and social care workers can determine their PPE needs. Currently, different regulations apply that the unions say were drafted in the light of PPE shortages rather than with the health and safety of workers in mind. They point out that this is causing problems particularly in facilities for the elderly and disabled where some employers say that workers should not cover their faces.