On 15 June the Labour Court in Bonn rejected an application by the local University Hospital to ban strikes being organised by the ver.di trade union. The strike action is part of what has so far been an eight-week campaign in six university hospitals in the North Rhine Westphalia region to secure a new collective agreement that addresses overwork and understaffing. The union wants a deal that covers all professional groups in the hospitals and has rejected an offer by the employers that would only cover nurses involved in direct patient care. Ver.di wants to see shift-specific minimum numbers
Safe and effective staffing levels
Quality public services depend on having safe and effective staffing levels. This is crucial in health and social services but is also important in a range other public services. It is also about ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff who are otherwise overworked and under pressure to cover for staff shortages. Recruitment and retention and training and continuous professional development are key elements in working to achieve and maintain safe and effective staffing levels.
Services union ver.di has strongly restated its demand for needs-based and binding staffing levels across all hospitals, following the publication of new research revealing a shortfall of up to 50,000 full-time employees in intensive care units. The union argues that this is a huge gap that endangers intensive care as well as the health of professional nurses. The study published by the Hans Böckler Foundation, calculates that in order to comply with the Nursing Staff Lower Limits Ordinance alone, the number of full-time positions would have to rise from 28,000 (as of 2020) to 50,800. If the
The Super and Tehy health unions are maintaining their ban on overtime and shift changes following their rejection of the proposed deal for health and local government. They continue to press for higher pay increases as essential to help tackle the urgent staff shortages in health and social care. Meanwhile, municipal unions JHL and Jyty are also keeping up their industrial action despite their provisional approval of the agreement. They are pushing for the agreement to be finalised and for the expected payments to be made by the summer, arguing that workers could lose out by over €300 if pay
The Super and Tehy health unions have firmly rejected the settlement proposed by the conciliation committee in the current dispute in local government and health. Meanwhile, the JHL and Jyty municipal services union have endorsed the proposal. The health unions argue that the pay increases on offer are inadequate and simply don’t address the urgent staffing problems in health and social care. The unions are now considering a mass resignation to put pressure on health employers to negotiate a better deal. For local government workers, the three-year pay deal should deliver pay increases of 1.9%
Public and private sector health trade unions – younion, GÖD, vida and GPA – are continuing their “health offensive” campaign with rallies across the country on 12 May. The unions, supported by the ÖGB trade union confederation, chamber of workers and Vienna chamber of doctors are calling for major reforms of the health system and urgent measures to improve pay and conditions. The unions argue that better pay and conditions are essential to tackle the staffing shortages that are posing a threat to services and are creating excessive workloads for health workers.
Mediation continues to try to resolve the dispute in the municipal sector where unions JHL and Jyty have planned for more strike action from 3 May if mediation fails to deliver a positive result. As of 28 April, the chair of the conciliation committee said that the two side were still far apart on pay and pay development. Meanwhile the SuPer and Tehy health unions cancelled planned strike action that was due to take place from 20 April, although they are continuing their work-to-rule. The two unions say that they were left with no alternative when the government threatened to introduce
The Tehy and SuPer nurses’ unions have confirmed the dates for the second period of industrial action following the first set of strikes launched on 1 April. The next stage will begin on 20 April and end on 4 May and will affect specialised medical care in 13 hospital districts, with approximately 35,000 nurses on strike. The postponement is to allow the Conciliation Committee sufficient time for mediation. The severe shortage of nurses in areas like elderly care means that this sector will be excluded from the strike as the unions point out that the staffing levels regulated by law are often
The DSR nurses’ union reports on the findings of a new survey by the Danish Nursing Council (DNC) that exposes the impact of staff shortages on services. The findings reveal that virtually all respondents (97%) said that they had experienced too few nurses at work in the past month, with 82% of these saying it had impaired patient safety. The DNC study says that the shortage of nurses has several consequences, including the closure of beds and a negative impact on patients' conditions. About a third had experienced patients being sent home or transferred before it was professionally sound.
The Tehy and SuPer trade unions representing nurses and other medical staff have set out plans for strike action to give impetus to the negotiations in health and social services. The two unions want to see positive action on salaries and have set out a five-year rescue programme for the health and social services sector. This includes increases to the basic wage level of 3.6% annually in addition to the normal contract increases that protect purchasing power. With women making up 90% of the care workforce, the unions argue that this is an essential measure to address the persistent gender pay
Youth care workers, members of the FNV trade union, took only the second day of strike action ever on 15 March. This is part of their long-running campaign to get a better collective agreement for the 32000 workers in the sector and to address workloads, recruitment and retention. The union argues that overwork and poor pay and conditions are driving workers from the sector and this only increases workloads for those who remain. Alongside better pay and conditions the union is calling for higher funding for the sector and this message was endorsed by the many organisations that joined the
With inflation hitting a 21-year high of 5.6%, Kevin Callinan, head of the Fórsa public service union, has called for the current “Building momentum” public sector agreement to be reviewed. Under the agreement public service pay will increase by just 1.2% this year. The agreement has an opening clause and Callinan argues that both the high level of inflation and more positive situation for the public finances justify the review. Meanwhile, members of the Medical Laboratory Scientists’ Association (part of the SIPTU trade union) will take strike action on 30 March unless the Department of
The three public service federations – Fp-Cgil, Cisl-FP and Uil-Fpl – have organised a day of action across the country on 25 March in public health and local services to put pressure on the government to improve pay and implement an urgent recruitment plan to tackle understaffing across the sectors. The unions say that they presented a list of key bargaining demands two years ago but the government has failed to properly respond or commit the resources needed to fund the demands. Meanwhile the same federations are mobilising their members in social care to put pressure on the AIOP and ARIS
On 22 March trade unions, including FSS-CCOO and FeSP-UGT, will begin a joint campaign of mobilization of staff at the Labour and Social Security Inspectorate. It aims to put pressure on the government to abide by a collective agreement that was signed last year. The unions want action to address staff and material shortages that are having a major impact on service delivery. It argues that that the government needs to recognise the efforts made by staff in recent years to maintain the service and the fact that many workers are facing burnout. Demonstrations are planned across the country on
The ADEDY civil service trade union confederation has called a national strike on 6 April over pay, jobs and public sector funding. It argues that with inflation at a 25-year high of 7% public sector salaries need to be increased immediately. There has been no increase since 2009 when salaries for many public sector workers were cut by 40%. ADEDY is also calling for reinstatement of 13th and 14th month salary payments and an increase in, and extension to the special allowance for arduous and dangerous work. The confederation’s other demands include urgent action to recruit permanent staff to
Younion, representing staff in early years education and care (ECEC) in the public sector is organising protests across the country on 21 March in its continuing campaign to win improvements to the pay and conditions of workers in the sector. The union wants to see administrative tasks reduced and more support staff recruited to give workers more time with the children in their care. The other key demands cover increased recruitment overall, improved training, proper recognition of work in the sector, recognition of COVID-19 as an occupational disease and better representation of workers and