Sep. 24, 2020 Public service union UNISON has won a major legal victory for 10 home care workers who are set to share £100000 (EUR 109000) in compensation for underpayment of wages. The case involves the failure of private contractors to pay to cover travelling time between jobs. It could have major implications for other home care workers and UNISON is calling on the government to act to outlaw the practice. Effectively, some of the workers were being paid less than half the minimum wage by being denied payment for travel time - an essential part of their work as home care staff - with some working as long as 14 hours a day.
Sep. 24, 2020 The STAL local government union organised an action outside parliament on 16 September as part of its long-running campaign to secure special allowances for workers doing arduous, unhealthy or high-risk jobs. The union says that legislation has been in place since 1989 to allow for this but never implemented. STAL underlines the fact that even in normal circumstances thousands of municipal workers deliver essential services in risky working conditions and that this is even more the case with COVID-19. Along with the demonstration the union has written an open letter to the government, MPs and local authorities calling for rectification of what it describes as a flagrant injustice.
Sep. 24, 2020 The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have signed a new agreement on telework covering 2.5 million public sector employees. The agreement includes basic principles that telework arrangements should be voluntary and reversible and subject to key provisions relating to health and safety, equality, transparency and objectivity. The agreement protects employee rights as well as guaranteeing services for citizens. Other important elements include a right to disconnect, data protection and the right to privacy. The unions have called for negotiations at various levels of government to follow quickly to ensure implementation of the new agreement.
Sep. 23, 2020 Service union ver.di has launched warning strikes across federal and local government to put pressure on the employers following the second round of bargaining. The union reports that the two-day meeting was a waste of time with no offer from the employers and no real appreciation or recognition of the work done by public sector employees. The employers have indicated that they will come up with an offer before the next round of negotiations which are due on 22-23 October. However, ver.di is not expecting much as on one key issue - equalisation of working time between Eastern and Western Germany - the employers have already suggested that this won't happen before 2025. Ver.di describes this as a real slap in the face for workers in the East
Sep. 11, 2020 The HK Kommunal local government union is consulting members for their proposals on what should be included in the upcoming public sector negotiations. Normally the union organises workplace visits across the country, but this year there an online survey because of the continuing impact of COVID-19. HK Kommunal underlines the importance of the consultation and being able to present a series of demands that have wide support across the membership. There had been some discussion about postponing negotiations and extending agreements for a year but this is not confirmed and so consultations continue and negotiations are likely to start early in 2021 with current agreements due to expire in March.
Sep. 10, 2020 Negotiations are underway in local government and while unions are aiming for a real pay increase they are also setting their sights on improvements in other working conditions. They want more investment in competence development and training during working time. However, a key demand is for more full-time work. Around two thirds of health and social care workers and 40% of those in childcare and education work part-time. Unions argue that this does not make the sector attractive and that full-time hours are needed to deliver decent pay. They also point to the benefits to the quality of services and health and safety and particularly in the current situation the increase in infection control that would come from fewer shift changes.
Sep. 09, 2020 In anticipation of annual pay negotiations, the GÖD public service union has written to the government calling for sustained, real increases in pay and allowances for all public sector workers. The union argues that public employees have faced increasingly difficult working conditions as they have responded to the pandemic and its knock-on effects on employment and the economy by maintaining quality public services. The union points out the importance of public services to support Austria as a successful international economy and that a pay rise for the public sector would make an important contribution to domestic demand and economic recovery. The current pay agreement runs until the end of December this year and the GÖD wants a prompt start to the negotiations to ensure that pay increases apply from 1 January 2021.
Sep. 09, 2020 Public services union ver.di reports that the first exchange with employers in the negotiations covering 2.3 million federal and municipal workers was a disappointment. The union has set out a series of key demands with the main one being a 4.8% pay rise with a minimum increase of EUR 150 a month. While the employers responded with some positive words about the efforts of public service workers during the pandemic they didn't come up with a pay offer. In fact, they underlined the challenges facing public finances and called for a long-term deal rather than the 12-month agreement demanded by ver.di. The union has launched a photo petition to support the negotiations, the next round of which takes place on 19-20 September.
Aug. 27, 2020 Trade unions, employers and the government have signed a major agreement which sets out a range of measures for the coming two years. These cover green and energy issues as well as plans to increase unemployment benefit and pensions. Health workers dealing with COVID-19 will see a 30% increase on pay for the period August-December this year, around 6000 employees will benefit. There is also additional funding for municipalities to ensure that the collective agreement covering childcare nurses is fully implemented. This will particularly affect workers in small towns guaranteeing that they receive the minimum rate. The tripartite agreement also sees moves towards ratification of ILO Convention 154 on promoting collective bargaining and initial steps to ratify Convention 151 on labour relations in public services. This could be an important development as currently civil servants don't have the right to collective bargaining.
Aug. 27, 2020 The FNV trade union is involved in two major campaigns. The first, running from 1-5 September, is a nationwide action across health and social care in response to COVID-19. The union wants to see proper recognition of the role played by health and social care workers and is calling for better pay and working conditions, reduced workloads and more autonomy for workers. The FNV is underlining the importance of preparing for a second wave of the pandemic and argues that action is needed to make the health and care sectors more attractive to increase recruitment. Meanwhile, the union is running a campaign and petition across local government to establish a EUR 14 an hour minimum wage. Six local authorities have already signed up and the plan is to develop the campaign over the next six months in the lead up to the general election in March next year.
Aug. 27, 2020 The collective bargaining committee of the ver.di public services union has agreed on a claim for a 4.8% pay increase (minimum EUR 150 a month) for the upcoming negotiations covering 2.3 million workers employed by the federal government and municipalities. The union is calling for appropriate recognition of the key role that many public service workers have played in response to COVID-19. Ver.di wants a 12-month agreement and demands also include a EUR 100 increase for apprentices/trainees. There are several other elements to the claim covering extension and improvement in the part-time work scheme for older workers, equalisation of working time between East and West, additional holidays and some specific issues related to the health sector, including shift work and Sunday work allowances. The first negotiations take place on 1 September.
Aug. 26, 2020 In response to a new government development strategy, the OPZZ trade union confederation has emphasised the need to ensure decent pay in the public services and has expressed concern about government proposals to freeze public sector pay in 2021. OPZZ argues that current levels of pay fail to make the public sector attractive to new recruits and there are problems with fluctuating employment levels while workers face increasing responsibilities and workloads. The confederation underlines the link between quality services and quality employment and the important of effective tax, legal, health and other services as a basis for an innovative and competitive economy. It is calling for a new approach to determining public sector pay with a possible link to economic growth.
Jul. 27, 2020 Around 900000 out of the total of 4.4 million public sector workers will see pay increases this year of between 2% and 3.1%. This is ahead of the current inflation rate of 0.8%. While unions have welcomed the increases they have highlighted the fact that many workers have lost out after 10 years of pay freezes or below-inflation rises. The latest pay increases cover the armed forces, judiciary and senior civil servants (2%), police and prison staff in England and Wales (2.5%), doctors and dentists (2.8%) and teachers in England (3.1%). Health unions have called for early negotiations for the next pay increase which is due in 2021 while most social care workers are excluded as they are employed by private companies. Workers in local government are currently voting on whether to accept a 2.75% increase. Unions fear that the government is already looking for more pay restraint in future negotiations.
Jul. 27, 2020 The Fp Cgil, Cisl Fp and Uil Fpl public service federations have finalised a new collective agreement covering around 15000 managers in local and regional government and the health service. The agreement covers the period 2016-2018 and includes a pay rise of 3.48% which follows the other public sector agreements for that period. Apart from pay, there are provisions covering trade union relations, work-life balance and leave arrangements, including support for women who are victims of violence. The agreement also establishes a joint body to look at innovation and service improvement and there is a commitment to start negotiations on an agreement covering 2019-2021. Only one public sector agreement for the 2016-18 period is now outstanding - the one covering employees of the Presidency and Council of Ministers.
Jul. 13, 2020 The main municipal unions in the Nordic region - Fagforbundet (Norway), Kommunal (Sweden), JHL (Finland) and FOA (Denmark) - have called on government and municipal employers to work together with unions to tackle the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. They argue that local and regional authorities need the finance to maintain jobs as well as the pay and condition of the municipal workforce and that these will be crucial to the economic recovery. The unions stress above all that austerity cannot be the answer and that the contribution of municipal workers should be recognised with funding for wage settlements and the services they provide.