May. 08, 2020 Health trade unions have issued a joint statement reiterating their serious concerns about the failures in provision of safety equipment and testing for health workers who have been struggling to maintain services despite the risks they have been facing. The unions also warn that the situation with protective equipment and tests needs to be resolved before any major moves to de-confinement otherwise there would be a major risk of a second wave of infection. The joint statement contains a reaffirmation of the key demands of the unions that they have been campaigning around over the last two years including, revaluation of pay and jobs; increased funding; more training and increased recruitment; a stop on closure of facilities and guarantee of access to services for all.
May. 08, 2020 Trade unions have strongly criticised the health minister for publishing two Royal decrees affecting health workers. The first would allow non-nursing staff to carry out some nursing duties. Unions say there are no details on how this would work in practice. The second provides powers to requisition health staff to work. The unions argue that this comes at a time when the infection rate is beginning to fall but more importantly was not even needed at the height of the crisis when health workers were doing all they could do fight the pandemic. The unions say that the decrees have been imposed without proper consultation and in the fact of strong opposition and that they risk to generate a wave of discontent and protest among health workers.
May. 08, 2020 Unions representing public service workers have made clear that they do not accept the government’s proposal to suspend this year’s pay increases, along with Christmas and other bonuses. Two pay increases are due to be paid this year, both of 2% in June and October. EPSU issued a statement supporting the unions’ position and criticising the government for pushing for a pay freeze for workers on the frontline of the fight against the pandemic.
May. 05, 2020 The three main trade union confederations - CGIL, CSIL and UIL - have criticised the government for failing to deliver on the additional resources and support needed for health workers as the country prepares to ease lockdown measures. The unions argue that key provisions in the "Care Italy" act have not been implemented leaving health workers still working long shifts, trying to cope with inadequate hospital capacity and all of this without adequate equipment or proper safety protocols - problems that have persisted for three months. The confederations also raise concerns about the pay and allowances of health workers to cover the mounting overtime and risks associated with dealing with such an infectious disease.
May. 04, 2020 The FNV trade union has again criticised the failure to provide adequate personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing for health staff. The unions says that at least nine health workers have died as a result of the virus and that measures still need to be taken to ensure that safety is prioritised. The FNV also argues that this is a longer term problem and the involvement of employees in safety protocols is essential. Meanwhile the union has confirmed that the collective agreement covering social workers has been declared generally binding and so covers all workers in the sector. The two-year deal runs to July 2021 and includes pay increases of 3.25% for both 2019 and 2020 along with the same increases for holiday allowances and end-of-year bonuses.
May. 04, 2020 On 28 and 29 April, the ver.di union, representing health and care workers, organised a photo action, projecting photos of care workers on key buildings including the ministry of health and parliament. The union was drawing attention to the work being done by hundreds of thousands of workers across health and social care despite the risks and often without adequate personal protective equipment. According to the union at least 42 health and care staff have died as a result of COVID-19. While welcoming the EUR 1500 bonus paid to staff in elder care, the union points out that not only have many health and other social care workers not received any bonus, but more importantly action needs to be taken in the longer term to improve pay and conditions across the sector.
Apr. 24, 2020 Trade unions representing health workers - INMO, SIPTU and Forsa - have been highly critical of the government's failure to come up with an effective plan to provide childcare for nurses, midwives and other care workers. Unions report that many health workers are staying away from work or using annual leave or sick leave as they have no childcare provision. Those who can find childcare are often paying high costs and proposals and unions are saying that proposals that offer leave for partners of health workers fail to recognise the limitation of the measure. Unions are particularly disappointed that so little has been done since the issue was raised weeks ago when the government closed schools and childcare facilities.
Apr. 24, 2020
The European Council has adopted a number of measures to assist businesses and workers as our economies are hit hard by the COVID19 pandemic. The package makes available €540 billion for euro zone member states.
Apr. 24, 2020 The OSZSP health and social care union has joined with the doctors' union in calling for a bonus for employees of hospitals, emergency medical services, social services facilities and public health protection authorities, who provide health and social services to patients and clients with COVID-19, or are at risk of COVID-19 infection. The three levels of monthly bonus would reflect the degree of risk faced by the worker and would start at CSK 20000 (EUR 730), rising to CSK 30000 (EUR 1100) and then CZK 40000 (EUR 1645). The initial response from the prime minister is to acknowledge that health and social care employees are a priority group for the government. The union is also in talks with social service employers.
Apr. 24, 2020 The Fp-Cgil public service federation has launched an online support service for health workers on the front line of the fight against COVID-19. Recognising the increased psycho-social risks for care staff working long hours and having to adapt to emergency working arrangements, the union has put together a pool of 40 or so psychologists, psychiatrists and other welfare support workers who are providing their services free for this online service.
Apr. 24, 2020 A new collective agreement covering the 75000 workers in the state sector has been agreed, running 23 months from 1 April 2020 to 28 February 2022. The pay rise over the period will be 3.07% in line with other pay increases in the current bargaining round. Negative elements introduced during the so-called competitiveness pact with the then right-wing government in 2016 have been removed. From now on the annual holiday bonus will be paid in full (it was cut by 30% in each of the last three years) and the 24 hours of extra unpaid work each year will also end although there is a provision for extra hours to be worked but at normal pay. Meanwhile, there are major disagreements, including on the overall pay increase, in the negotiations in local government that cover 310000 workers.
Apr. 24, 2020 The HWURF health workers' union reports that special COVID-19 tax measures have been extended to doctors with personal income tax incentive payments for those facing special working conditions and additional workloads when working with patients with the virus and people at risk of infection. Meanwhile the FNPR trade union confederation has called for state-wide base salaries to be set across healthcare and other parts of the public service to end the wide variation in salaries between regions. The measure was due to be discussed at the Tripartite Commission for the Regulation of Social and Labour Relations on 24 April. The FNPR had earlier made a call for a 50% increase in pay for health workers dealing with COVID-19 patients.
Apr. 23, 2020
Now is not the time to negotiate trade agreements: governments must focus on securing medical supplies and saving lives endangered by COVID-19
Hundreds of trade unions and civil society organisation are calling on trade negotiators and the World Trade Organisations (WTO) to stop trade negotiations and to focus all governmental resources on dealing with the public health emergency brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apr. 23, 2020
EPSU has signed a statement coordinated by Public Citizen which outlines a number of principles to guide the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with one unifying goal: making drugs affordable and accessible for all.
Apr. 23, 2020 Health workers in Stockholm are benefitting from the implementation of an agreement on emergency situations that provides for a 120% additional payment on top of normal pay. The agreement was negotiated by several unions last year mainly in response to the spate of major forest fires. At the beginning of the month the SKR municipal employers' organisation agreed that the critical situation arising from COVID-19 met the criteria to activate the agreement in Stockholm.The agreement provides for longer working hours and different rules on rest periods. If emergency overtime is worked then the additional payment rises to 150%.