Union secures agreement on workloads and staffing

Germany

After 11 weeks of strike action and more than 25 days of negotiations, health union ver.di and the six university hospitals in North Rhine Westphalia have agreed on the key points for a collective agreement that addresses excessive workloads and understaffing. The agreement will run from the beginning of 2023 and sets out the ratio of employees to patients required on each shift. If this ratio isn’t met or if other stressful situations occur, those affected receive stress points and then an additional day off for every seven points accumulated. In the first full year of implementation up to 11 days can be taken, rising to 14 in the second year and 18 in the third. However, the hospitals have 18 months to introduce the necessary IT systems, during which time additional time off will be limited to five days. It was important for ver.di to ensure that the agreement covers workers outside the direct care occupations, such as radiologists and therapists. The union is, however, disappointed that it was only agreed to create 30 additional full-time positions per university hospital. 

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