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
The European Commission has produced a short overview of paternity and parental leave provisions across EU countries revealing that, for example, paternity leave is available in nearly all member states but the length and level of compensation vary considerably. The draft directive on work-life balance proposes two weeks' paternity leave paid at the level of sick pay. While 17 member states already have the two-week minimum only 13 offer it on the basis of at least 66% of previous earnings.