The impact of the pandemic has led to restructuring of some care homes in the Brussels region where employers are arguing that declining occupation rates and costs of anti-COVID measures are making some homes unviable. The Armonea (Colisée) group has announced plans to close one facility (Sebrechts) with the loss of 108 jobs while unions at the Senior Living Group, part of the Korian multinational, are looking at ways to avoid compulsory redundancies with a range of measures. The unions at the Sebrecht care home have issued a strike notice and there is determination to fight what is seen as a decision made purely on grounds of maximising profits.
Unions face up to care home restructuring
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The FOA trade union has called for regular testing for COVID-19 for care home staff. The union is concerned about a recent article that found over half of homes had no plans for regular testing and the news that 29 infections were found at a nursing home in North Jutland. FOA is proposing that a system of mobile testing be set up so that all staff could be tested quickly and efficiently, particularly if they are to meet the recommendation from the European Centre for Disease Control of testing every two weeks.
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