Oct. 21, 2020 The FNV, NU'91 and other health unions have welcomed the decision by the health minister to support their demands on personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and social care staff. The unions have been calling since March for workers to be able to decide when they need to use PPE and to have the appropriate equipment available. The unions had criticised the guidance from the RIVM public health institute which left discretion to employers and which, unions believed, had been drawn up with the scarcity of equipment in mind. The unions' approach puts this discretion in the hands of care workers and a statement to that effect has already been circulated by some employers in the care sector.
Oct. 05, 2020 FNV, NU'91 and other health and social care unions say that they are appalled that the government has failed to implement a directive on personal protective equipment (PPE) that was put to parliament four months ago. The new regulations would make clear that health and social care workers can determine their PPE needs. Currently, different regulations apply that the unions say were drafted in the light of PPE shortages rather than with the health and safety of workers in mind. They point out that this is causing problems particularly in facilities for the elderly and disabled where some employers say that workers should not cover their faces.
Sep. 24, 2020 The FNV trade union has called for compensation for employees in health and social care who have been infected with Covid-19 due to the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and criticises the government for failing to take appropriate action to protect workers and citizens. From 1 April Covid-19 was recognised as an occupational disease and the FNV argues that the government should have acted immediately to ensure provision of PPE. The union is considering legal action over the issue, noting that it has repeatedly raised problems with PPE in several meetings with various ministries. The FNV also wants the government to set up a fund to provide financial compensation to all those who have become infected at work because they have been deprived of PPE and have suffered as a result.
Sep. 09, 2020 A survey of 1600 care workers by the FNV trade union has revealed disturbing levels of concern about safety, overwork and low pay. Some 70% of workers feel unsafe because government measures to tackle the pandemic are not properly enforced and only 25% say they have adequate personal protective equipment for a second wave. Three in four say they have a high or very high workload and 90% feel they are not appreciated by government or politicians. Seven in 10 want a structural pay increase and not a corona bonus payment. They say this is essential to make the sector more protective and address the 80000 vacancies that have occurred over the last two years. This situation is set to worsen as one in four health workers are thinking of quitting. The survey was published as part of the FNV's week of campaigning on health and social care and the impact of the pandemic.
Aug. 27, 2020 The FNV trade union is involved in two major campaigns. The first, running from 1-5 September, is a nationwide action across health and social care in response to COVID-19. The union wants to see proper recognition of the role played by health and social care workers and is calling for better pay and working conditions, reduced workloads and more autonomy for workers. The FNV is underlining the importance of preparing for a second wave of the pandemic and argues that action is needed to make the health and care sectors more attractive to increase recruitment. Meanwhile, the union is running a campaign and petition across local government to establish a EUR 14 an hour minimum wage. Six local authorities have already signed up and the plan is to develop the campaign over the next six months in the lead up to the general election in March next year.
Jul. 10, 2020 Workers in public libraries are set to get a 5% pay increase in a new collective agreement running from 1 July 2020 to 1 July 2021. A 3% pay rise will be backdated to 1 January and a further 2% increase will follow in January 2021. There will also be an overtime bonus for part-time workers, abolition of youth pay rates and limits on use of temporary contracts. However, the additional payment for Sunday work will be reduced and unions are unhappy about limited notice of rosters. Meanwhile unions have rejected a pay offer for central government workers arguing that a 0.7% pay increase and € 225 lump sum payment are inadequate recognition of the services provided by workers, particularly in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
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. 15, 2020 Trade unions in the public sector have written to the government, parliament and public sector employers to call for more staff, better pay and conditions and support for quality services - a new direction for the public sector rather than the austerity measures that are already being hinted at. Meanwhile, as hospitals gradually return to normal, the FNV has underlined the importance of ensuring that the collective agreement is properly applied in terms of working time, on-call, rest time and annual leave. The union has also a negotiated a pay deal in social employment services where workers will get 3.2% over two years.
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.
May. 29, 2020 The FNV trade union argues that the failure of the government to issue clear guidance personal protective equipment (PPE) means that many employers are not providing all health and care workers with the necessary protection. An FNV survey found that 60% of staff in nursing homes and home care lack protection and even a third staff in hospitals don’t have enough PPE. Non-nursing staff in particular unprotected and practice varies significantly from employer to employer with some saying they won’t provide PPE until the government issues a directive. FNV is planning to call for a one-off bonus for care staff in the short term, but also better wages and terms of employment in the longer term. There are already signals that healthcare institutions are expecting financial shortages but the union argues that this should in no way be used to deprive healthcare staff of the financial rewards they deserve. FNV (NL)
May. 04, 2020 The FNV trade union has again criticised the failure to provide adequate personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing for health staff. The unions says that at least nine health workers have died as a result of the virus and that measures still need to be taken to ensure that safety is prioritised. The FNV also argues that this is a longer term problem and the involvement of employees in safety protocols is essential. Meanwhile the union has confirmed that the collective agreement covering social workers has been declared generally binding and so covers all workers in the sector. The two-year deal runs to July 2021 and includes pay increases of 3.25% for both 2019 and 2020 along with the same increases for holiday allowances and end-of-year bonuses.
Apr. 09, 2020 The FNV public service union wrote to the government on 7 April raising serious concerns about the situation in care homes with many lacking personal protective equipment (PPE). While many care workers face long hours, the union has also raised the issue of other workers seeing their hours cut. This arises if home care workers are asked to stay away by their clients and/or they cannot provide care because of lack of PPE. The FNV is clear that neither of these is the fault of the employee and so cuts in hours should be out of the question. It argues that many workers in this situation can be transferred to other work. The union has also announced that the collective agreement for the sector was declared generally binding on 8 April and so covers all employers in the sector, not just those who are members of the VVT employers' organisation. The FNV has raised similar issues in the health sector, again with concerns over PPE but also over the need to clarify health and safety protocols which are currently unclear as to what a worker should do if concerned about infecting or being infected by a patient. The FNV highlights the fact that many staff were already under pressure before the crisis and mental strains have only increased and that this needs to be recognised by the government. The union has called for improved pay and working conditions, a guarantee that funding will be maintained across the system and that all planned restructuring is put on hold.
Feb. 21, 2020 The FNV trade union has negotiated a new 12-month agreement covering around 7000 workers in the waste processing sector. There will be a 3.75% pay increase with 2.75% paid in January and 1% in August along with a one-off payment of EUR 125. Two hundred workers on flexible contracts will be offered permanent jobs. There are also improved provisions for training and there will be talks over pensions and more possibilities for early retirement related to the arduousness of the job and length of service. The young workers' pay rate (18) will rise from 85% to 87.5% of the full adult rate.
Feb. 03, 2020 The collective agreement covering workers providing disability care has new elements to improve work-life balance. There is an annual hours system based on a 36-hour week for a full-time worker. This alllows for flexibility to help address peaks and troughs in the service but on the basis that employers have to abide by clear rules in both the collective agreement and legislation. Workers in the sector can also now look to the collective agreement to assert their right not to be contactable during their time off. The FNV trade union sees this as an essential measure to tackle increasing stress and burnout in the sector.