May. 01, 2019 The latest issue of the Journal of International Trade Union Rights features a number of articles examining the extent to which public service workers find their rights restricted in relation to organising, collective bargaining or the right to take collective action. Nadja Salson of EPSU contributed an article highlighting two developments. First, is EPSU's legal action against the European Commission over its failure to put forward the information and consultation agreement in central government to the European Council for transposition into a directive and the second is the loophole in the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive that allows Member States to exclude public service workers from its provisions. The journal also includes an article based on the right to strike factsheets covering 34 countries and produced for EPSU by the European Trade Union Institute.
Apr. 15, 2019 Nine trade union organisations are now supporting the national public sector strike on 9 May - CFDT, CFTC, CFE-CGC, CGT, FAFP, FO, FSU, Solidaires, and UNSA. The key demands are for the government to stop its plan for a transformation of the public service that involves around 120000 job cuts. The unions are also calling for an end to the pay freeze and a pay increase for all public sector workers. The unions claim that the government talks about the importance of the work of civil servants while at the same time undermining their rights, benefits and working conditions. They also say that there has been a failure to negotiate properly with the unions and to take account of the alternative proposals they have for the public sector.
Mar. 28, 2019 Public service unions organised a national protest on 27 March, the day that draft legislation on public service reform was presented to the Council of Ministers. The unions oppose the main reforms that they fear will lead to increased use of workers on contracts rather than civil service status and plans to cut 120000 jobs. Most unions are also planning further action with 9 May as the date for demonstrations and strikes. Meanwhile, customs workers have been on a work-to-rule. While the impact of Brexit is one of the drivers of the action, the unions argue that there are other long-term problems that need addressing. Around 6000 jobs have been cut from the service over the last 10 years while the work has become more complex with increasing demands related to terrorism. Failure to invest to in up-to-date equipment has also contributed to the problems faced by border workers.
Mar. 27, 2019 Prison unions, ACAIP, FeSP-UGT and FSC-CCOO, organised lunchtime protests outside every prison service establishment on 20 March. They were reacting to the knife attack on a member of staff at the Soto del Real prison in Madrid. The unions argue that prison service management is failing to take adequate action to tackle increasing violence across the service, noting that the prison service has been condemned by the Central Labour Inspectorate for failing to properly apply occupational health legislation.
Mar. 27, 2019 The unions representing workers at the Revenue Agency, including Fp Cgil, Cisl Fp and Uilpa, are planning a national strike on 2 April in protest at the failure to pay additional payments to 30000 employees. The additional payments date back to 2016 and 2017 and the Agency has repeatedly failed to justify the reasons for the delay in payment. Even during recent compulsory arbitration the Agency couldn't explain the delay or commit to a payment date and so the unions agreed that they had to resort to strike action.
Mar. 15, 2019 A new report from the PCS civil service union reveals considerable pay inequality across government linked to the proportion of men/women in each department. For example, a civil service executive officer, in a majority male department is paid £3771 (EUR 4415) (13%) more than an executive officer in a majority female department while a civil service administrative officer, in a majority male department is paid £2675 (EUR 3130) (12.6%) more than an executive officer in a majority female department. The union attributes the problem to the delegation of pay negotiations to departmental level and contrasts this to the single pay structures across health and local government.
Mar. 15, 2019 The Forsa public services union is arguing that the current public sector agreement needs to address cost-of-living increases and occupation and grade-specific claims. Recent pay rises have brought pay back to 2008 levels but don't take account of the 6% rise in prices while there is a range of demands from different groups of workers that have not been addressed in earlier negotiations. This is reflected in the current dispute involving nurses and midwives which is now being addressed in the Labour Court. The Court had ruled earlier in favour of a pay rise for nurses and midwives and other measures to address issues like safe staffing levels. But the union, INMO, has returned to the court following a government offer that includes what the union sees as wholly unacceptable proposals on contracts
Mar. 14, 2019 The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have finally negotiated a new agreement covering 40000 workers in the central state administration. This comes three years after the last agreement and failure of the previous government to negotiate a deal. The new agreement will mean an overall increase of 14% for the lowest paid covering the three years 2018-2020. There are also measures to clarify job classifications and relate them more closely to educational qualifications. The unions are also pleased to include for the first time provisions to allow workers aged 55 and over to opt for partial early retirement. Other elements cover professional career development, mobility, complementary pay and the possibility of change of status where responsibilities are more in line with the work of a civil servant.
Feb. 28, 2019 The unions organising in the prisons sector - FSC-CCOO, ACAIP, FeSP-UGT and CSIF - continue to press the government to honour its original commitment to increase funding to the service. The unions organised a demonstration outside the General Directorate of Public Services on 18 February. They are particularly angry that the government withdrew its offer of EUR 123 million to cover pay rises for the 23000 workers in the sector over the period 2019-2021.
Feb. 28, 2019 A new analysis from the research organisation, the Living Wage Foundation, shows that over one million public service workers are paid less than the living wage - GBP 9.00 (EUR 10.50) an hour outside London and GBP 10.55 (EUR 12.30) in London. These figures are calculated by independent researchers and are higher than the official minimum wage. Public service union UNISON says that recent pay deals in health and local government have lifted minimum wage rates in collective agreements above the living wage but many workers employed by private contractors in care, catering and cleaning and other services are on lower rates. UNISON members at Liverpool's Women's Hospital took strike action on 25 February to secure higher pay while other contractors in the health service have committed to increase rates. Members of PCS working for contractors at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have also been on strike for higher pay.
Feb. 28, 2019 Public service unions report very high levels of support for the national strike action on 14-15 February. All sectors of the public services were affected and this gives strength to the unions' claims to end the 10-year pay freeze and to address a wide range of other issues including career progression. Meanwhile, in relation to a separate action the SEP nurses' union has condemned the government for using its power of civil requisition to end a strike. The union argues that this is an excessive measure that undermines the right of healthworkers to take action and will, in any case, do nothing to resolve the dispute. Information on the right to strike in Portugal is now available in the new EPSU-ETUI series of country factsheets.
Feb. 27, 2019 The federal collective bargaining committee, including public services union vpod, is calling on the government to include in the 2020 budget funding for a pay rise to fully compensate for inflation. It also wants a minimum increase CH 200 (EUR 175) per month to the benefit of lower paid workers. The positive fiscal situation means that the government is also committed to a pay rise in 2019 to cover inflation. The unions also want concrete measures on work-life balance for those with caring responsibilities.
Feb. 15, 2019 Public service unions are continuing their campaign for a pay rise for public service workers. Eight unions have come together and are urging people to sign their petition. They have also written a joint letter to the prime minister, Édouard Philippe, calling not just for an end to the public sector pay freeze but also for a stop on job cuts and recognition of the important role public service workers play in delivering public services. Some of the unions have also been mobilising in February with days of action and strikes.