Staffing levels, Corporate Social Responsibility
Member of the services union ver.di working in several hospitals across the country took strike action on 19 September as part of the union's campaign on safe staffing levels and reducing workloads. EPSU general secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan sent a message of support, underlining the importance of protecting the well-being of both health workers and patients by taking urgent action to reduce staff shortages in the sector estimated at over 160000, including over 70000 frontline care workers.
The FOA public services union is calling on the government and municipalities to take urgent action to tackle staffing shortages in eldercare. A recent survey found that three out of four local authorities didn't have enough eldercare staff and the situation is set to deteriorate as many workers retire. The sector needs around 13000 new recruits every year but the level is currently half that. The union says that employers use a lot of part-time work to save money and while many employees in the sector actually want to work full time. There is also a question of higher pay for young workers.
EPSU has co-signed an appeal of 88 organisations which demands the European Commission introduce new corporate accountability legislation requiring companies to respect human rights and the environment in their global value chains and operations.
Trade unions set up global union network in German multinational Fresenius active in care and renal dialysis
The German company Fresenius active across the global in care, renal dialysis and medical products is quickly building a reputation of a company that does not respect its workers.
The three main unions representing health workers - FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-FPL - have issued a joint call demanding urgent action to tackle doctor shortages across the health service. The three federations are particularly concerned about precarious employment, the need for more specialists and for a recruitment plan for doctors to be put in place as soon as possible. They made their case at a meeting with the Ministry of Health on 30 August where they highlighted the impact of austerity and recruitment freezes which have impacted emergency services above all. The unions have warned for many
The FNV trade union for prison staff has called for an urgent meeting with prison service management to discuss the implications of a new report on staffing, safety and treatment of inmates. The union believes that the report, "Out of Balance", by the Justice and Security Inspectorate provides further evidence of its concerns over excessive workloads and inadequately trained staff. The union now wants the prison service to discuss permanent measures to tackle these problems building on the temporary arrangements that were agreed last year by the justice department and central works council.
The CCOO-Sanidad health service union has repeated its call on the government to change the protocol on discharging health workers from treatment for COVID-19 and returning to work. The union argues that the procedure should be no different to that applying to other workers and that it is essential to ensure that health workers have completely recovered from infection. It warns that pressure to get health staff back to work has contributed to the 19400 health worker infections and 13 deaths. The federation has called for medical students in the final year of their studies to be called up to
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
Municipal services union Kommunal reveals that 16% of workers in eldercare still don't have access to personal protective equipment (PPE). Although this figure has fallen from 37%, the union says that is still unacceptable and is also concerned that around a fifth of workers say that their workplaces are not following proper hygiene practices. Eldercare workers are not just calling for more PPE but also increased staffing to help deal with the impact of the pandemic which the union argues is far from over.
Kommunal, the municipal workers' union, has negotiated an agreement with the SKR local and regional government employers' organisation to provide for more staff and training in eldercare. The government has provided an additional SEK 2.2 billion (EUR 210 million) in 2020 and 2021 to cover the extra staffing. Kommunal wants to ensure that workers are taken on on full-time contracts and training takes place during paid working time and is line with the existing training provision for nursing assistants and nurses.
In an open letter, which has received the support of 600 organisations from more than 90 countries plus European and international organisations, EPSU calls on governments and the EU to take action to prevent the wave of ISDS cases that put at risk an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.