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Tinytots sign collective agreement with FOA
Press clipping 8.28.2015 from the newspaper Arbejderen (Arbejderen)
TINYTOTS WILL NOW MEET LFS
Union protests press wage dumper to the table
Union protests press wage dumper to the table Following LFS' two-week campaign of protest actions, private childcare provider Tinytots is now willing to negotiate. LFS vows to campaign against other private childcare institutions.
Last Friday, The National Organization of Social Education (LFS) ended a two-week campaign against private childcare provider Tinytots in Copenhagen.
Until now Tinytots has refused to sign a collective agreement. Tinytots employees earn less than the highest rate of subsistence allowance and have no pension scheme.
In the wake of the campaign, Tinytots' owner contacted LFS and the parties have agreed to meet.
"One of the campaign objectives was to enter into a dialogue with the employees and we were very successful".
Thomas Enghausen, LFS
According to LFS, all nursery assistants at Tinytots earn DKK 110 per hour. They are therefore paid a monthly wage that is DKK 3,000 less than the rate paid to a new nursery assistant under the terms of the LFS collective agreement.
LFS has protested in front of four childcare schemes, each with eight children, run by Tinytots in the Vesterbro, Østerbro, Nørrebro and Nordhavn districts of Copenhagen.
LFS has tried without success to persuade Sharmila Mukherjee, owner of Tinytots, to sign the collective agreement. She claims that she pays low wages and no pension because she cannot afford to pay wages in line with the collective agreement.
In an email to Arbejderen, Sharmila Mukherjee explained that Tinytots has an excellent ratio of 2½ nursery assistants to eight children.
"However, in municipal "flerbørnsdagpleje" (family daycare), which is the closest comparison to the Tinytots scheme, there are three full-time employees per eight children," states Thomas Enghausen, chairman of general care at LFS, when Arbejderen met him in front of the the Tinytots childcare scheme at Stenosgade 9 last Thursday.
LFS is pleased that – in the wake of a long period of stalemate – the union is again in contact with Sharmila Mukherjee. LFS' satisfaction is evident in the
light of the fact that in September Tinytots will open a new integrated institution for 40 children in Valby.
"We are willing to resume negotiations regarding a collective agreement. One of the campaign objectives was to enter into a dialogue with the employees and we were very successful," says Thomas Enghausen .
To inform the employees of their rights and the wage conditions they are entitled to under a Danish collective agreement, LFS produced a small folder in English.
The owner, employees and parents all have foreign backgrounds. The institution is international and everyone speaks English.
The parents who came to pick up their children this Thursday afternoon did not wish to talk to Arbejderen.
"Most of the parents are foreigners, who are seconded to work in Copenhagen. We have met people from Italy, Israel, Australia and Austria, who work in international enterprises, such as WHO, in Metro construction and Mærsk," explains Thomas Enghausen
The LFS activists met not one parent who criticised the protests. On the other hand, however, they have to have their child looked after and they need an international childcare institution.
"Our protest is not intended as criticism of the parents. We are here to demonstrate that the city council needs to set up an international institution. We have encouraged the city council to include this in budget negotiations," explains Thomas Enghausen.
A resident of the building that also houses the institution came out to hear what the activists were doing. During the past two weeks, the LFS people talked to people in the local areas who were surprised to learn that social dumping also takes place in childcare institutions.
MORE PROTESTS UNDER WAY
Daniel Dryer, who is employed as an organiser at LFS, i.e. to organise new members, also attended the protest action last Thursday. He believes that protest actions against social dumping help to show people what a trade union is for.
"Protest actions are important for current and future members because they demonstrate that we are an activist trade union. We make our presence felt and we have clear opinions," says Daniel Dreyer.
Since LFS began to focus on organising new members, the membership has grown. On 1 January 2012, LFS had less than 10,400 members. Today it has more than 11,200.
However, LFS is not alone in the struggle to get private social welfare companies and institutions to sign a collective agreement. The umbrella organisation FOA, to which LFS belongs, has also decided to make moves to address the social dumping issue.
"All FOA departments now address this issue, including elderly and residential care and others," says Maria Grandahl. She is employed at the FOA headquarters and has taken part in all the LFS protest actions against Tinytots.
The next private institution, against which LFS will protest with a view to getting the leadership to join the collective agreement, is Kidz R Os in Valby. The campaign will start on the morning of 4 September.