When prime minister Sophie Wilmès visited the Saint-Pierre hospital in Brussels earlier this month she was met by rows of health workers with their backs turned. This reflected the growing anger among health workers about the failure of the government to deal with the pressing needs of the sector in terms of funding, staffing and personal protective equipment. Health trade unions are also angry about the two decrees (see CB News 9) on assistants carrying out nursing duties and requisitioning staff. Unions have issued official strike declarations in response to the failure to have a proper social dialogue on these key issues
Health unions issue strike threat
More like this
The OZZPiP nurses' and midwives' union looks set to declare disputes in different regions across the country in a process that could lead to a national strike. The union is angry that legislation on bonuses for work with COVID-19 patients has been amended and could see many nurses lose out if they work with COVID-19 patients but in hospitals that are not designated as COVID-19 facilities. Furthermore, the union is calling for allowances to go to all nurses and midwives that come into contact with COVID-19 patients and not just staff who are specifically assigned to care for these patients
Over 1400 workers, members of the PCS civil service union, took strike action from 6-9 April in protest at the failure to address safety issues at the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea in South Wales. Over 600 DVLA employees have tested positive for COVID since last September with no effective response from management or the Department of Transport (DoT). Following the strike the union has called for immediate talks to resume with the DoT and will be discussing next steps with members.
The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have been setting out key demands in relation to the rules that should apply before a return to work in public administration. The FSC-CCOO is highly critical of the return-to-work plan drawn up by the government which it says fails to take account of key advice from the ministry of health. It also points out that there is nothing in the plan in relation to telework which is currently being done by around 60% of public administration workers. The union says that while issue of technical support and health and safety were not fully dealt with