On 12 September, service union ver.di organised a nationwide action by healthworkers to highlight the massive problem of understaffing in the sector. Staff were asked to ensure that they followed precisely the rules for disinfecting their hands before dealing with each new patient. Ver.di selected this as one example of the many tasks that workers simply don't have time to do properly because of the pressure of work. The union points out that workers are often under pressure to make decisions about which jobs they need to do, leading to stress and even sickness. This is the latest step in ver.di's campaign calling for national legally binding staffing levels along with the funding to cover the additional staff that are urgently needed.
Health workers in hand cleaning work-to-rule
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In a number of key cities, ambulance workers, members of the FNV trade union, re-launched their campaign over understaffing and overwork with a work-to-rule. The workers will strictly abide by all relevant rules and regulations related to working time, working conditions and patient hygiene to demonstrate to employers how they are normally forced to cut corners because of the enormous pressure they are under to attend emergencies. The union says that with current staffing levels it is impossible to achieve target response times. See also epsucob@NEWS 02, January 2018 and 21, November 2017.
Nurses are continuing their industrial action following the breakdown in talks over their pay and hours dispute. Nurses and midwives, who currently work a 39-hour week, are pushing for a 35-hour week in line with other health professionals. They also want a significant increase in pay rates, pointing out that on graduation the pay of nurses and midwives is €7,000 below that of chiropodists and play therapists. Read more at > INO (EN)