Health unions organising in both the public (GÖD and younion) and private (vida and GPA) sectors united with other health organisations in a major nationwide action on 10 November to highlight the state of the health service and the need for urgent action. The unions stress that staffing shortages were already apparent before the pandemic and their impact now is to leave most health and care workers both physically and mentally exhausted. They underline the need for increased staffing, improved and additional training and better employment conditions if a dangerous crisis is to be avoided. On the day before the action the four trade unions’ youth sections mobilised in Vienna in a demonstration focusing on the need for more and better training.
Unions unite in protests over crisis in health service
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Five health unions (CCOO, SATSE, ELA, LAB and UGT) are continuing to work together in a long-running campaign to secure increased funding for primary care in the Basque region. Their latest initiative involves demonstrations at health centres right across the region on 22 December. The unions are calling for action on staffing with the creation of 1000 new posts, the transfer of thousands of temporary workers to permanent contracts and an end to excessive use of temporary hiring. The unions are also calling on other campaign groups to join the protests.
The vpod/ssp trade union is mobilising for a national demonstration of health workers in Berne on 30 October. The aim of the protest is to highlight the efforts and sacrifices that health workers have made in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Key demands include a COVID bonus but also action to deal with the long-standing problems of pay and understaffing in the sector. The union is also calling for measures to improve training, work-life balance and retirement provision and argues that pay increases should reflect the arduousness of many health workers’ jobs.
Services union ver.di coordinated demonstrations across the country on 16 June to coincide with a meeting of health ministers. In the lead up to the general election in September, the union has been determined to show members’ anger over the failure to deliver improved working conditions for health and social care employees. A survey of over 12000 workers commissioned by ver.di revealed that 78% could not imagine staying in their profession until retirement under current conditions. Almost three quarters of respondents reported excessive workloads and understaffing. The union is concerned