The vida trade union which represents workers in private health and social care has criticised the government for saying that workers infected with COVID-19 should continue to work. The union sees this as a panic reaction to the increased pressure on services and insists that workers and patients need protecting and those infected or who need to quarantine should not go to work. Vida also wants to see testing extended to all workers including emergency service staff and other mobile workers and underlines that tests, including travel to and from test facilities, should be carried out during
Health and Safety, Austria
The vida and GPA-djp private services unions have called on the government to take a national approach to regulations on childcare as institutions try to get to grips with rules on safety that vary across the country. The unions are concerned that proper measures are in place to protect workers and children but they have had reports of regional authorities applying different rules on face masks as well as recommending different staff:children ratios. In the meantime, the two unions are also pushing for a new collective agreement covering around 15000 health and care staff at the non-profit
The vida private services union has reported with concern a violent incident between patients at an addition clinic in Vienna. The union says it was shocking that at the time there was only one member of staff on the night shift responsible for 45 patients. Vida wants immediate action to ensure no member of staff works alone and calls for support for its new campaign, "More of us, better for everyone." The campaign calls for 20% more staff in hospitals and national, legal minimum staffing levels along with measures to boost education and training.
Following a meeting with the justice minister, the prisons section of the GÖD public service union has announced that the government is committed to create 75 new jobs and 100 training places to tackle the excessive workloads faced across the prison service. The talks also discussed the prospects for a quicker and more effective process for appointing prison staff and a plan for an expert study of the sector that would assist in drawing up standard safety guidelines.
The GPA-djp and vida private service trade unions met with the private care employers' organisation (SWÖ) to highlight the major staffing challenge facing the sector and the urgent need for additional funding to cover better pay and conditions to increase recruitment to the sector. The unions underlined the impact of serious staff shortages that are leading to increased workloads, burnout and stress for many care workers. They want to see legally enforceable staffing levels, that set minimum standards both in terms of numbers of staff with the appropriate qualifications.
The GPA-djp private services union is campaigning to defend workers' rights on working time and against pressure from employers for more flexibility in working time legislation and a move to a 12-hour maximum working day. The union points out that Austrian workers already have a 41.5-hour working week on average, among the highest in Europe, and often have to work overtime at short notice. The GPA-djp also highlights the evidence of increased health and safety risks once the working day goes over nine hours.