Jul. 13, 2020 Health and social care unions have reacted differently to the government's €7.5 billion package on pay and jobs. The CFDT has welcomed the proposals that it says will mean a €90 net increase a month for most health workers from September with a further €93 increase from March 2021. On top of this a working group will be set up to look at revaluating pay for certain occupations which will be implemented in January 2022. The lowest paid workers in the sector, currently on the minimum wage should see their pay increase by 15%. Around 8000 jobs will be created and 7300 vacancies filled. The FO trade union is supporting the proposal on the basis that it is a first step in the right direction. The CGT is disappointed by the package particularly because it says does not go far enough to address the problem of proper compensation for long working hours with nothing offered in relation to on-call and overtime, nor anything extra for night, weekend and holiday work. The union has called for support for a demonstration already planned for 14 July and warns that further resignations of health staff were likely and will only add to the pressure on services.
Jul. 13, 2020 The FOA trade union has called for urgent action to address training and recruitment in eldercare. It quotes a new report revealing a sharp decline in the numbers of people being trained to work in the sector. It was already forecast that there would be a staffing shortage of around 40000 by 2028 but the figures on training - a decline of 36% in the number of young people on training courses - suggest an even greater shortage. The government has agreed to a request by FOA to convene a summit of politicians, employers and unions to debate how to tackle the problem.
Jul. 13, 2020 Vision and Kommunal, the trade unions representing workers and managers in eldercare, have issued a joint call for action on working conditions and work organisation to address the long-standing problems in the sector that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis. The unions underline the importance of continuity of care that they say is best delivered through a stable base of long-term and full-time employment. They have set a target of increasing the proportion of permanent employees to 90 percent. They also want to see a benchmark of 25 employees per manager in the elderly care to help improve the working environment along with collaboration to create a safe and healthy work environment.
Jul. 10, 2020 Public and private sector health unions (younion, GÖD, vida and GPA-djp) have joined with the chamber of labour and chamber of doctors in a campaign - "health offensive". The aim is to achieve major change across the health and long-term care sectors and tackle some of the long-standing issues of understaffing and overwork that have been exposed by the impact of COVID-19. The unions have managed to establish a structured dialogue with the health ministry to address seven key issues - staffing, working conditions, training, career development, investment and ensuring service provision.
Jul. 01, 2020 The Kommunal municipal services union has been successful in its call for an investigation of the Work Environment Authority (WEA) (see EPSU CB News No.9, May 2020). The union made the application to the parliamentary ombudsman on the basis that the WEA had failed to fully address issues related to the inadequate provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). The union argued that the authority had consulted more with employers than the union. Meanwhile Kommunal has also been successful in getting changes to the Public Health Agency's guidance on PPE use in social care, making clear that workers should have the right to face masks and visors rather than relying on local risk assessments to determine usage.
Jul. 01, 2020 The FOA trade union is gearing up for the public sector pay negotiations over a new collective agreement to follow the current agreement that expires in March 2021. There had been some discussion about postponing the negotiations but they will now go ahead with unions expecting tough bargaining conditions. Public sector wage increases are linked to developments in the private sector and so there will be some constraints but unions are determined to secure pay rises for their members and the FOA is stressing again the need to support low paid workers who have been less advantaged by pay increases that are normally set at percentages rather than as flat-rate amounts. The union is hoping that as lock-down restrictions continue to relaxed, union members will be able to meet from the autumn to discuss the main bargaining demands.
Jul. 01, 2020 Health and social care trade unions have reinforced their demands for a major boost to pay and conditions, jobs and training in the health and social care sectors in response to the offer of a EUR 300 bonus to some health care staff. The bonus would be in the form of a voucher for spending in the retail and catering other specific sectors. However, it would only go to services directly funded by the federal government and so many care sector workers would miss out. Unions are also critical that it is tax and social contribution-free. Health and care trade unions have a series of key demands that they have been pushing for some time that will require substantial increased funding for the sector.
Jul. 01, 2020
EPSU calls on the European Parliament to investigate the tragic effects of COVID-19 on the care sector
Today EPSU together with the European Disability Forum and the Age Platform Europe will formally call on the European Parliament to launch an investigation to assess the failures of authorities in addressing and managing the crisis in the long-term care sector during COVID-19.
Jul. 01, 2020 Trade unions organising in the health and social care sectors took to the streets again on 30 June as part of their long-running campaign to secure increased public funding, more jobs and better pay and conditions for workers in both public and private sectors, improved training, an end to closures of facilities. A further day of action is planned for 14 July. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Jun. 30, 2020 The FNV trade union reports that all care staff will get a bonus of EUR 1000 net in recognition of their work in coping with the COVID-19 virus. The payment will go to a very broad range of those involved in care across nursing homes, hospitals, ambulance services, disability and rehabilitation services, community and youth care and mental health. Nurses, care workers, cleaners and support staff will all get the payment. The union says that it hopes this will set the scene for negotiations in the autumn to deliver better terms and conditions for care workers and help address staff shortages. Meanwhile, there has been no progress yet with negotiations in central government where the collective agreement expires on 1 July. The next round of bargaining takes place on 6 July.
Jun. 19, 2020 The UNISON public services union has written to the health minister and launched a campaign calling for full pay for carers who are sick or have to self-isolate in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in care homes or among those receiving home care. The vast majority of carers are low-paid and get basic sick pay of only £95 a week (EUR 105) which makes it impossible to provide for a family and puts pressure on the carer to stay at work. UNISON has welcomed £600 million (EUR 665m) of extra funding for the sector but is concerned this will end up in the coffers of private care companies with no guarantees that their employees will benefit
Jun. 19, 2020 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.