May. 04, 2020 The Sanidad-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have called for a range of actions in the elder care sector in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Both federations were already campaigning to secure better pay and conditions for the workforce, 90% of which are women. They both argue that the impact of the pandemic has further exposed the fundamental problems of low pay, inadequate staffing, stress, excessive workloads. These have been compounded by the lack of personal protective equipment and inadequate testing which have exposed both workers and service users to the virus. Key union demands include an audit of care homes, higher pay and increased staffing, more funding from central government and a greater role for the public sector.
Apr. 08, 2020 The CCOO-Sanidad health service union has repeated its call on the government to change the protocol on discharging health workers from treatment for COVID-19 and returning to work. The union argues that the procedure should be no different to that applying to other workers and that it is essential to ensure that health workers have completely recovered from infection. It warns that pressure to get health staff back to work has contributed to the 19400 health worker infections and 13 deaths. The federation has called for medical students in the final year of their studies to be called up to provide support if there are urgent staff shortages. The union estimates that this could provide an additional 6500 doctors and 12500 nursing and other professional staff. The FeSP-UGT federation has also raised concerns about infection of health staff and continuing problems with the supply of personal protective equipment and testing.
Mar. 05, 2020 The FOA trade union highlights figures from the VIVE research organisation that show massive variations in staffing levels in eldercare establishments across the country. The staff to resident ratio at night ranges from 1:8 to 1:41, while the evening shift ratio varies from 1:2.7 to 1:11. The variation of ratios on day shifts is less dramatic but still ranges from 1:1.4 to 1:4.2. FOA argues that the varying needs of residents can't account for such variations and that in many cases homes have failed to increase staffing to cope with the higher demands of older residents with health problems. The union is calling for national standards to tackle the problem.
Mar. 05, 2020 The UNISON, Unite and RCN health trade unions have voted to approve a new agreement on pay and staffing in Northern Ireland. The three unions were involved in various forms of industrial action at the end of last year, including the first full strike action in the RCN's history. The unions now have agreement that pay rates in Northern Ireland will be increased to be in line with those in England and measures will be discussed to increase staffing. A fourth union NIPSA did not support the pay deal but recognises that there was a majority vote in favour. In the meantime it is continuing its campaign around staffing levels, particularly in social services.
Feb. 21, 2020 The health and social service federations - CCOO-Sanidad and FeSP-UGT - are planning to mobilise workers in the care sector in March to put pressure on employers to negotiate a collective agreement. The unions will organise protests outside the head offices of the main companies in the sector highlighting the problems in relation to low pay, health and safety and inadequate staffing that face the 250,000 overwhelmingly women workers. The unions are also calling on the government to tackle underfunding of services and to ensure decent working conditions through procurement.
Feb. 21, 2020 The HSSMS-MT nursing union has joined with other nursing organisations in submitting a series of demands on the government to address the urgent problem of understaffing resulting from emigration and retirement. The joint document highlights the increased pressure that the health service faces and the failure of recent governments to provide solutions. The unions and associations want to see proper recognition of qualifications and responsibilities in the job and pay structure and recruitment of more staff. They are also calling for clear plan to address training and education needs.
Feb. 20, 2020 The public service federations of the CGIL, CISL and UIL confederations have come together to set out their platform of key demands for negotiating the next three-year agreements in local government and health. The unions have underlined the need for urgent action to boost recruitment and reclassify jobs in recognition of the value of the work of public service employees. They are also calling for measures to reduce precarious work, currently affecting some 350,000 workers across the public sector. The unions also want to see improvements to industrial relations in the sector and measures to strengthen collective bargaining at both national and local levels.
Feb. 18, 2020 Thirteen trade union organisations and health campaigning groups came together on 14 February to strike and join demonstrations calling for urgent action on the funding and provision of health and social services. This follows the previous national action on 17 December (EPSU CB News 24, December 2019). The key demands are for an increase in funding, action on recruitment and training, recognition of the arduousness of work in the sector, a stop on closures of facilities, opening up governance of hospitals to workers and patients and ensuring equal access to quality services.