The GPA-djp and vida private service trade unions met with the private care employers' organisation (SWÖ) to highlight the major staffing challenge facing the sector and the urgent need for additional funding to cover better pay and conditions to increase recruitment to the sector. The unions underlined the impact of serious staff shortages that are leading to increased workloads, burnout and stress for many care workers. They want to see legally enforceable staffing levels, that set minimum standards both in terms of numbers of staff with the appropriate qualifications.
Unions and employers focus on funding for care sector
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The health workers' union has called for increased funding for the sector to deal with the major problem of healthworkers' pay. The union reports that an analysis of wage developments in the first half of 2017 found that average pay for doctors and other medical staff actually fell in seven Russian regions while in contrast wages in industry increased. The wide range of salaries across the country is exacerbating staff shortages and the union highlights the fact that in many institutions the pay bill is the first to be cut in order to fund other areas of health spending.
Around 5000 protestors joined a demonstration on 14 November organised by the FPSU trade union confederation. The trade union demands concerned the draft Budget for 2020 and the Labour Code. Unions are concerned about changes to the law that deprive civil servants and public sector workers of rights to social protection upon dismissal and planned changes that contain discriminatory rules on the employment rights of employees and threatens their collective protection. The unions also have specific demands on minimum and living wages and pensions.
At an early stage of the negotiations in local government the KL employers' organisation has said it will allocate around 500 million krone (EUR 67 million) to tackle major staffing shortages in health and social care. In December, KL and the FOA public services union issued a joint report which revealed that 73% of municipalities faced shortages of skilled staff, particularly in the field of eldercare. FOA gave a positive reaction to the news but underlined that they and other public sector unions still had key demands for tackling low pay and the gender pay gap.