Health and Safety
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 BDDSz childcare workers' union has launched a photo campaign to highlight the failure of many workplaces in the sector to provide appropriate workplace clothing for employees. The union points out that this is a legal duty and all the more important during the current COVID-19 pandemic. According to the union some 40% of institutions are failing to abide by the law, rising to 70% of those involved in child protection.
Jul. 01, 2020 Unions organising in state administration in both Spain and Portugal have raised serious concerns about the approach to telework and particularly governments taking the opportunity to regularise arrangements that were only adopted on an emergency basis. While there is recognition of the potential benefits to work-life balance, unions argue that fundamental issues need to be addressed through collective bargaining in relation to working time, the right to disconnect, provision of equipment, health and safety, training, contact with the workplace and the voluntary nature of the decision to telework.
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 FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and other unions that organise workers in the INPS social security service are mobilising members in protest at the Institute's failure to abide by a return-to-work agreement signed on 3 June. The unions argue that management pushed for reopening all offices on 1 July without taking the agreed health and safety precautions to protect both workers and service users. The unions also say that the Institute has failed to recognise the efforts put in by workers to maintain services while offices were closed to the public. Unions are organising workplace meetings across the service.
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.
Jun. 09, 2020
The European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for the Hospitals and Healthcare sector (SSDC HS) share their views on the EU4Health programme proposed in the context of the revised Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027.
Jun. 05, 2020 Trade unions, including FNV and NU'91, have agreed a set of guidelines on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers in nursing homes and those providing home care. This comes after union concern that existing guidance was unclear and created to confusion at the workplace. The unions and employers are also working together to ensure that there is sufficient PPE available not just to ensure that the guidance is applied in practice but also to provide for those workers who ask for PPE in other circumstances. Meanwhile in the central government sector negotiations on a new collective agreement are due to start on 11 June having been postponed from March. The current agreement will continue to apply even beyond its 1 July expiry date.
Jun. 05, 2020 Municipal services union Kommunal reveals that 16% of workers in eldercare still don't have access to personal protective equipment (PPE). Although this figure has fallen from 37%, the union says that is still unacceptable and is also concerned that around a fifth of workers say that their workplaces are not following proper hygiene practices. Eldercare workers are not just calling for more PPE but also increased staffing to help deal with the impact of the pandemic which the union argues is far from over.
Jun. 03, 2020 The FOA trade union reports success in getting the government to set up a new committee to deal with personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing for COVID-19 infections. The new body will not only ensure that enough PPE and testing are available in response to any resurgence in the pandemic but also in preparation for any future crises. The union also underlined the need to take measures to ensure that health and social care are in general strengthened and not subject to the kinds of efficiency measures that have been common in recent years. FOA underlines the need for support for the elder care sector in particular which has been neglected by employers and the government to the detriment of workers and the elderly.