FNV, NU'91 and other health and social care unions say that they are appalled that the government has failed to implement a directive on personal protective equipment (PPE) that was put to parliament four months ago. The new regulations would make clear that health and social care workers can determine their PPE needs. Currently, different regulations apply that the unions say were drafted in the light of PPE shortages rather than with the health and safety of workers in mind. They point out that this is causing problems particularly in facilities for the elderly and disabled where some employers say that workers should not cover their faces.
Health and care unions demand implementation of protective equipment rules
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The FOA trade union reports success in getting the government to set up a new committee to deal with personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing for COVID-19 infections. The new body will not only ensure that enough PPE and testing are available in response to any resurgence in the pandemic but also in preparation for any future crises. The union also underlined the need to take measures to ensure that health and social care are in general strengthened and not subject to the kinds of efficiency measures that have been common in recent years. FOA underlines the need for support for the
Trade unions, including FNV and NU'91, have agreed a set of guidelines on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers in nursing homes and those providing home care. This comes after union concern that existing guidance was unclear and created to confusion at the workplace. The unions and employers are also working together to ensure that there is sufficient PPE available not just to ensure that the guidance is applied in practice but also to provide for those workers who ask for PPE in other circumstances. Meanwhile in the central government sector negotiations on a new
Public service unions Fórsa and SIPTU have called for urgent action to better protect healthcare and childcare staff against the COVID-19 virus. Fórsa says that figures show over 9000 health workers were infected at the beginning of last month and that many are being pushed back to work too quickly by local management in response to increased demand and shortages of staff. Meanwhile, SIPTU has been making a case for a change in a approach in the childcare sector where there is no requirement to wear masks or implement social distancing. The union wants a review of procedures, for staff to be