Health unions launch campaign on working time and workloads

Austria

The GPA, vida and younion trade unions have launched a new campaign calling for better working conditions in the care, nursing and health professions. The unions underline the urgent need for more staff and this will only be possible if employment and working conditions improve quickly. Around 120 members from local works councils joined the launch and a website has been set up with the demands and the opportunity to submit a declaration of support. The unions are seeking a reduction in working hours to 35 hours per week with full wage and salary compensation and a guarantee of an employment relationship during training with a living wage. Other demands include greater stability in shift patterns and better compensation for deviations from rosters. They also want to see an extension to the entitlement to pensions for arduous work for care, nursing and health professionals. Meanwhile the GÖD and younion public sector unions held a nationwide day of action on 8 May focusing on the high physical and psychological stress faced by health workers and the need to update rules on arduous work to ensure all health workers are covered. The unions say that studies clearly show that fewer and fewer employees can put up with heavy workloads until the standard retirement age. They argue that the current rules and entitlement criteria deny many health workers their right to an early retirement pension.

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