2019 July epsucob@NEWS 14
IN THIS ISSUE
- Germany: Sector agreement covering eldercare in prospect
- Spain: New four-year agreement in water sector
- Italy: Positive bargaining developments for health workers
- Austria: Union addresses problem of overworked midwives
- Netherlands: Union campaigning secures adult minimum wage from 21
- Ukraine: Confederation rejects World Bank demand on minimum wage
- UK: Outsourced workers still fighting for pay and union recognition
- Ireland: Union calls for living wage for all early years educators
- Norway: Government intervenes to end hospital strike
- Belgium: Union says hospitals not serious about workers' pay and conditions
- France: Emergency service workers continue actions across the country
- Portugal: Unions criticise government for undermining collective bargaining
- Europe: ETUI publishes major review of collective bargaining across EU
- Europe: Collective bargaining and digitalisation training for EPSU affiliates
Jul. 24, 2019 Services union ver.di has welcomed the establishment of a new employers' organisation - BVAP - covering the eldercare sector. The union will aim to begin talks as soon as possible over a collective agreement and is even optimistic that one could be negotiated by the end of the year. Ver.di would also aim to get the Ministry of Labour to extend the agreement to all employers in the sector. It is disappointed that so far the Red Cross has refused to join the new organisation. Ver.di wants to secure pay levels in eldercare comparable to the public sector which it argues are vital to retain experienced staff and improve recruitment of new workers.
Jul. 24, 2019 Campaigning by the youth section of the FNV trade union has paid off with implementation of a change in the national minimum wage. The adult rate will now be applied from 21 rather than 22. This means 21-year-olds will benefit from the new EUR 9,44 rate, a 45% increase on the previous rate, which was only EUR 6,49. While being delighted with the result the union's youth section is determined to keep up the fight to get right of the other age-related rates so that the full adult rate applies from 18.
Jul. 24, 2019 There have been two important developments covering health workers. The first is a new collective agreement after 10 years covering around 130000 doctors and managers in the national health service. The new agreement includes the EUR 200 a month increase enjoyed by public service workers in general but there are additional benefits for young doctors and additional payments linked to length of service. On-call night payments will increase from EUR 50 to EUR 100 (EUR 120 for emergency workers). There will be a joint initiative on well-being and measures to tackle violence against staff. In a separate development, public service unions have negotiated to ensure that 3000 health researchers on precarious contracts are covered by the main public health collective agreement.
Jul. 25, 2019 The unions UGT-FICA and FSC-CCOO are both very positive about negotiating a new four year agreement with the AGA employers' organisation in the water sector. The agreement will run until 2022 and covers around 20000 workers. There will be a 3% pay increase in each year but there is also an opening clause if inflation exceeds this figure. Working time is reduced by eight hours with annual total of 1744 from 2020. There is a wide range of other measures relating to health and safety, work-life balance, equality and digitalisation among others.
Jul. 25, 2019 The vida services union says that urgent action is needed to tackle overwork among midwives. There is a problem of understaffed delivery rooms and increased demands on midwives such as administrative work. The union has taken up the issue in particular at the St.Josef hospital in Vienna where it will be negotiating with management following a meeting of midwives organised by the union. The negotiations will discuss staffing, working time and questions of pay that the union says are crucial to improve recruitment to the job.
Jul. 25, 2019 The SIPTU services union has called on the government to commit to funding early years education in order to ensure a living wage for all childcare workers. The union says that, on average, early years educators are paid EUR 1.12 less than the living wage of EUR 12.30 an hour. SIPTU wants to see the living wage established as the minimum rate for all childcare workers as an important step in recognising the value of the profession and to begin to address turnover and staff shortages.
Jul. 25, 2019 The FPU trade union confederation has rejected a call from the World Bank that there should be no further increases in the minimum wage until structural reforms have been carried out. The FPU argues strongly that a decent minimum wage is a basic right for workers and shouldn't be subordinated to the demands of international creditors. The current minimum wage is 5500 UAH a month (EUR 195) and is set to rise to 5700 UAH (EUR 200). The confederation says that the minimum should be a living wage and on this basis the target should be UAH 7700 (EUR 270).
Jul. 25, 2019 Outsourced workers at the Foreign Office and Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) are continuing to fight for better pay and at least the living wage. Workers employed by the Interserve company at the Foreign Office will be involved in talks at the conciliation service ACAS on 26 July to try to resolve their dispute over pay and recognition but their union, the PCS, has said strike action was already planned if a suitable settlement was not achieved. Meanwhile at the DBEIS, cleaners employed by ISS and catering workers employed by Aramark are on all-out strike to secure the living wage.They were joined on 22 July for a five-day strike by porters, security guards and postroom staff also employed by ISS.
Jul. 25, 2019 After three weeks of selective strike action in hospitals involving several public service unions, the government has used its powers to force an end to the action and refer the matter to a national labour tribunal which will meet in October. The strike was over pensions and ensuring that all hospital workers have a right to a pension from the first Krone earned. The government claimed a threat to health when the unions decided to step up the action. It has intervened in this way in the past, most recently in November 2018 in a dispute involving the NSF nurses' union (see epsucob@NEWS 22, 2018).
Jul. 25, 2019 The European Trade Union Institute is publishing a comprehensive four-volume overview of collective bargaining in all 28 Member States of the European Union.This documents how collective bargaining institutions have been abolished, changed or narrowed in scope. However, it also highlights some positive developments with some collective bargaining systems proving more resilient than others in maintaining multi-employer bargaining arrangements. The key policy issue addressed in this book is how the reduction of the importance of collective bargaining as a tool to jointly regulate the employment relationship can be reversed.
Jul. 25, 2019 The CNE trade union has been organising regular actions each Tuesday to highlight the pressure of work, understaffing and poor pay and conditions in hospitals, care homes and other health and social service institutions. It plans to resume the actions in September and has criticised hospital employers for failing to engage fully in negotiations to improve pay and working conditions. The CNE highlights in particular the failure of the employers to provide data on a new job and salary classification system that would have allowed an analysis of implementation of the system and discussions about the next phase of implementation.
Jul. 25, 2019 The Frente Comum group of public service unions has criticised the government for failing to respect existing collective bargaining arrangements in the public sector. The government has put forward reforms to public sector pensions without going through the proper procedure for consultation. Instead of negotiating directly with public sector unions the government will use a social dialogue forum that includes private sector employers. The Frente Comum unions are concerned about the impact of the proposed pension reforms which could reduce rights for workers to retire from 60 with 40 years' service, for example.
Jul. 25, 2019 EPSU has launched a training project on digitalisation and collective bargaining with financial support from the European Commission. The consultants Ecorys/wmp will be providing the training in five regional seminars beginning in Bucharest on 24-25 September. The five seminars will be open to all EPSU affiliates and full details in 19 languages are available on the EPSU website.
Jul. 25, 2019 Following the national strike and day of action on 2 July, emergency service workers are continuing to take action in many parts of the country. The protests and strikes are over pay and working conditions and the urgent need to address understaffing and excessive workloads that are leading to burnout and stress. Repeated and all-out strikes are taking place in Aveyron, Chambery-Aix, Redon, Perpignan and the Loire region among others. Further national action is planned for September.