The vpod/ssp public services union has been campaigning since last September for hospital workers who need to change into and out of their uniforms to have this changing time recognised as working time. In the latest development, the management of the Limmattal hospital in Zürich has refused to recognise changing time as such but has guaranteed one of two 15-minute break periods that it had not previously endorsed. In the meantime the vpod is busy using legal means to challenge other hospitals for unpaid wages for changing time.
Union continues campaign for changing time to be working time
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The vpod public services union has taken further action in its campaign to get the time health workers need to change clothes counted as working time. The union has submitted a whole series of complaints to the regional labour inspectorate in Zürich about the USZ hospital. These cover a range of issues around staffing and working time but the changing time is key. The issue has also been taken up by the hospital's staffing committee.
The latest biennial report from the Eurofound research agency finds that there have not been any significant developments in working time across Europe. The average working week remains at 38 hours. Public administration is one of the specific sectors analysed where weekly hours averaged 37.6 in both 2018 and 2017. The report noted some specific sector developments with particularly negative legislation passed in Hungary affecting public administration allowing for longer hours and more flexibility. More positive agreements were noted in Estonia (health) and Greece (local government and waste)