in a meeting with the Ministry of Health on 13 May, the FSS-CCOO and FeSP-UGT health sector federations have called for action on staffing and pay and conditions across the sector. In particular, the FSS-CCOO demanded that the Ministry of Health schedule negotiations covering the National Health Service (SNS). The union is unhappy that it was only on 13 May that negotiations have been convened during the entire period of the crisis. The federations want to see an extension of contracts until the end of the year for all those employed on temporary contracts to help deal with the crisis. This
The FNV trade union argues that the failure of the government to issue clear guidance personal protective equipment (PPE) means that many employers are not providing all health and care workers with the necessary protection. An FNV survey found that 60% of staff in nursing homes and home care lack protection and even a third staff in hospitals don’t have enough PPE. Non-nursing staff in particular unprotected and practice varies significantly from employer to employer with some saying they won’t provide PPE until the government issues a directive. FNV is planning to call for a one-off bonus
The SIPTU health union has reiterated its demand that the government publishes full details of where over 7,600 workers have tested positive for Covid-19. The union says that the data is needed to identify any Covid-19 hotspots and to understand if health workers were exposed due to the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) or poor enforcement of protocols. It will also allow the union to find out how these workers were treated by their employer. SIPTU is also concerned about health workers taken on by employment agencies who are not covered by Covid-19 paid leave or ‘death in service’
The STAL municipal services union has negotiated an agreement with the AMBILITAL inter-municipal waste company that provides for an extraordinary allowance of 300 euros for all workers and guarantees to protect the incomes of workers subject to containment measures during the COVID-19 outbreak. The union sees these as essential measures to address the current emergency and reflect STAL’s longstanding aim to achieve greater recognition of the arduousness nature of the work in the sector.
When prime minister Sophie Wilmès visited the Saint-Pierre hospital in Brussels earlier this month she was met by rows of health workers with their backs turned. This reflected the growing anger among health workers about the failure of the government to deal with the pressing needs of the sector in terms of funding, staffing and personal protective equipment. Health trade unions are also angry about the two decrees (see CB News 9) on assistants carrying out nursing duties and requisitioning staff. Unions have issued official strike declarations in response to the failure to have a proper
The ver.di health union has welcomed parliamentary approval of the EUR 1500 COVID-19 bonus for all workers in elder care. This is important to ensure that all regions allocate funding to cover the payments following debate on how the bonus would be funded. Ver.di has also been critical of the private companies in the sector making high profits but unwilling to cover the full cost of the payment. The union says that it is still negotiating a new collective agreement with the BVAP employers’ organisation that it hopes will address the long-standing problem of low pay and poor working conditions
The FOA trade union reports success in getting the government to set up a new committee to deal with personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing for COVID-19 infections. The new body will not only ensure that enough PPE and testing are available in response to any resurgence in the pandemic but also in preparation for any future crises. The union also underlined the need to take measures to ensure that health and social care are in general strengthened and not subject to the kinds of efficiency measures that have been common in recent years. FOA underlines the need for support for the
The Fagforbundet public service union has underlined that it wants to maintain its key priorities for the pay bargaining round that has been deferred to the autumn. The union aims to address the situation of skilled workers who have fallen behind on pay in recent years. It also wants to see the work done by many public service workers during the pandemic properly recognise, stressing that it may not be appropriate to target specific occupations as many services are provided by team work and so it would not necessarily be fair to reward some and not others. Fagforbundet is aware of the
Progress with collective bargaining in the public sector has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Around 2.1 million workers are covered by the agreement for Federal and Municipal government which was last negotiated in 2018 and runs until 31 August this year. The trade union ver.di convened its collective bargaining committee earlier this month where it postponed the decision to formally give notice on the end of the agreement which would start negotiations. There will be an opening discussion with the VKA employers' organisation on 16 June and the collective bargaining committee will
The new collective agreement covering 420000 local government workers, including health care was finally agreed at the end of May and runs from 1.4.2020 to 28.2.2022. There will be a pay rise of 1.22% or at least 26 Euro on 1 August this year, followed by a further 1% on 1 April 2021. There is also a sum of 0.8% to be agreed at local level, valid from 1 April 2021. The annual 24 unpaid extra working hours agreed as part of a "competitiveness" pact with the then government in 2016 will end on 30 August this year. From September 2021 there will be a separate agreement covering healthcare workers
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.