Low pay/minimum wages
Jul. 01, 2020 The FOA trade union is gearing up for the public sector pay negotiations over a new collective agreement to follow the current agreement that expires in March 2021. There had been some discussion about postponing the negotiations but they will now go ahead with unions expecting tough bargaining conditions. Public sector wage increases are linked to developments in the private sector and so there will be some constraints but unions are determined to secure pay rises for their members and the FOA is stressing again the need to support low paid workers who have been less advantaged by pay increases that are normally set at percentages rather than as flat-rate amounts. The union is hoping that as lock-down restrictions continue to relaxed, union members will be able to meet from the autumn to discuss the main bargaining demands.
Jun. 23, 2020
On 3 June the European Commission launched the second stage consultation on potential legislation on fair minimum wages. EPSU convened an online working group on 19 June to discuss the key issues and the draft response to the consultation from the ETUC. There were 29 participants from EPSU affiliates in 15 countries.
Jun. 05, 2020 On 3 June, the European Commission launched the second-stage consultation on an initiative to deliver fair minimum wages. The deadline for responses is 4 September. In an initial reaction, the ETUC welcomed the greater emphasis on collective bargaining. However, there is no detailed proposal from the Commission. The ETUC has underlined the importance of action on wages, noting the impact of the current crisis and the fact that in several countries wages have yet to recover from the previous crisis. A draft response is due from the ETUC shortly and this will be discussed at an EPSU collective bargaining working group on 19 June.
May. 04, 2020 The Sanidad-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have called for a range of actions in the elder care sector in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Both federations were already campaigning to secure better pay and conditions for the workforce, 90% of which are women. They both argue that the impact of the pandemic has further exposed the fundamental problems of low pay, inadequate staffing, stress, excessive workloads. These have been compounded by the lack of personal protective equipment and inadequate testing which have exposed both workers and service users to the virus. Key union demands include an audit of care homes, higher pay and increased staffing, more funding from central government and a greater role for the public sector.
Mar. 05, 2020 The ETUC has revealed the latest data showing the decline in collective bargaining coverage across Europe. The ETUC has been pressing the case for action on wages and collective bargaining and set out a range of key demands and red lines in its submission to the European Commission's consultation on fair minimum wages. Figures from the University of Amsterdam show that 3.3 million fewer workers are covered by collective bargaining compared to 2000. The biggest percentage declines have been seen in Romania, Greece and Bulgaria.
Feb. 21, 2020 The health and social service federations - CCOO-Sanidad and FeSP-UGT - are planning to mobilise workers in the care sector in March to put pressure on employers to negotiate a collective agreement. The unions will organise protests outside the head offices of the main companies in the sector highlighting the problems in relation to low pay, health and safety and inadequate staffing that face the 250,000 overwhelmingly women workers. The unions are also calling on the government to tackle underfunding of services and to ensure decent working conditions through procurement.
Feb. 20, 2020 The three main unions in local government - Unison, Unite and GMB - have rejected a 2% pay rise as a wholly inadequate offer from the employers. The unions have submitted a joint pay claim that aims to provide some redress for years of pay freezes and below-inflation increases. These have left local government workers some 22% worse off in real terms. The aim is for a new minimum rate of GBP 10 (EUR 12) per hour and a 10% increase for all workers.
Feb. 10, 2020
The main item on the agenda was the response of the ETUC to the First Phase Consultation of Social Partners under Article 154 TFEU on a possible action addressing the challenges related to fair minimum wages.
Feb. 04, 2020
Thirty-five participants from 18 countries met in Brussels on 30 January to discuss the European Commission’s consultation document on fair minimum wages and the ETUC’s draft response.
Feb. 03, 2020 As the debate continues during the first phase consultation over the European Commission's proposals on fair minimum wages, the ETUC is highlighting the need for a major boost to legal minimum wages across Europe. It argues that in most of the 22 EU member states with a statutory national minimum wage it fails to meet even the minimal at risk-of-poverty wage threshold of 60% of the median wage. In 10 member states, the statutory minimum is 50% or less of the national median wage.
Jan. 22, 2020
On the National Day of Hungarian Culture, Hungarian workers in the cultural sector demand better pay!
EPSU affiliates KKDSZ are holding a demonstration to protest the unacceptable low level of pay across the culture sector and the lack of any pay increase for their members for over 10 years.
Jan. 21, 2020 On 14 January the European Commission published a document on fair wages, launching a six-week consultation process with trade unions and employer organisations. The ETUC welcomed some key points in the document such as the acknowledgement that wage in many countries were too low and that collective bargaining is an essential element of a social market economy. However, it was also disappointed that the document was very short on concrete measures, particularly in relation to strengthening and extending collective bargaining. The ETUC is drafting a response that will be discussed at its collective bargaining committee on 31 January and EPSU has convened a working group on 30 January to discuss the document.
Jan. 20, 2020 The KKDSZ culture workers' union has launched a petition highlighting low pay in the sector and plans to hand it to the minister of human resources on 22 January, the national day of culture. The union will highlight the contradiction of government claims that national culture is important while failing to increase pay for museum, library and other culture workers for over 10 years or engage in proper collective bargaining. The union is planning a number of events in Budapest and other cities. EPSU send a message of solidarity.
Jan. 20, 2020 Trade unions across Europe have been sending messages of solidarity to Ukrainian unions as they step up their campaign against planned reforms of labour law. Proposed legislation would abolish the most important legal and social guarantees for workers and trade unions covering minimum wages, pay and leave for hazardous work, weekly rest periods, overtime pay and limits, restrictions on night work for women, dismissal rights and protection of workers with disabilities. It allows for more flexible contracts, including zero-hours and weakens trade union rights. A national day of action has been called for 30 January.