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.
Strikes and protests over staffing levels
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The ver.di services union organised further strike action among health workers on 10 and 11 October as a further step in its campaign to deal with massive staffing shortages across the sector. The union is looking to negotiate agreements to tackle overwork, excessive overtime and workers being called out at short notice to fill staffing gaps. Ver.di wants to see all workers take their proper breaks and ultimately the aim is for national legislation to set minimum staffing levels.
The ver.di services union has negotiated a new agreement with the management of the university hospitals of the towns of Gießen and Marburg in the Hesse region in central Germany. This is a major success arising from the union's national campaign of protests and strikes calling for action on staffing in the sector. The agreement, covering 7000 workers, provides for the possibility of taking on new workers as well as creating a pool of workers who are in a position to cover short and long-term gaps in staffing. It also commits the management and union to negotiate over measures to address
A survey of hospital workers by the FNV health union reveals that more than four out of five think their wages and callout and standby allowances are too low and nearly three in four are thinking of leaving the health service. Again, more than four out of five see understaffing as a key issue. The FNV and NU'91 unions want to put pressure on the hospital employers to get a good collective agreement for the 200000 workers in the sector. They want a 5% pay increase and a range of other measures including on working time and rest breaks. Both unions are staging actions, including working to rule