The Fórsa trade union is planning to ballot its members in non-profit health and social care over a proposal for indefinite strike action. Along with other unions, SIPTU and INMO, Fórsa has been involved in a long-running campaign to secure pay increases for workers in the sector where pay has fallen behind public sector pay. Despite several years of targeted industrial action the government has failed to address the problem and the unions argue that this is unfair as many workers in the sector are doing the same work and delivering the same services as in the public sector. They also warn
Safe and effective staffing levels
Quality public services depend on having safe and effective staffing levels. This is crucial in health and social services but is also important in a range other public services. It is also about ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff who are otherwise overworked and under pressure to cover for staff shortages. Recruitment and retention and training and continuous professional development are key elements in working to achieve and maintain safe and effective staffing levels.
A documentary on Norwegian TV and a survey by the FOA trade union in Denmark expose similar problems facing workers in eldercare as they have too many clients, leaving those requiring care regularly seeing lots of different carers for short periods of time. Reacting to the documentary the Fagforbundet trade union highlighted the problem of so many care staff working part-time, chasing shifts to try to make ends meet and being part of a continuing turnover of staff so that there is little continuity for those needing care. In Denmark, the FOA argues that staff spend too little time with those
The public services union ver.di has published early results of a major study of workers in social services that reveals the high risks of burnout and exhaustion faced by many workers in the sector. The survey covers more than 8,200 employees in childcare, disability assistance, youth welfare offices and other areas of social work. It found that since the pandemic many employees often skip the legally required rest breaks and 40% stated that they regularly work three or more hours overtime a week as well. Over 65% of respondents say that they are under time pressure at work, with more than 80%
The SuPer health and care union has published findings from a survey of workers in early years education that found more than half (53%) of respondents felt that the quality of service had deteriorated over the past five years with insufficient staff seen as the main problem. Over 1,000 union members replied to the survey, with 88% saying that they had experienced staff shortages in their work unit on at least a monthly basis. They survey also found that the increase in other tasks meant that workers had less time for direct contact with children. Almost 80% of respondents are considering
Services union ver.di is in negotiations with the VKA municipal employers’ association to improve working conditions in municipal emergency services. The union is calling for a maximum working week of 44 hours (down from 48) as a first step and other measures to protect the health of employees. Ver.di warns that more workers will leave the sector if this issue is not addressed and cites the Red Cross as an example where hours reductions are being achieved. At the end of November, ver.di agreed with employers to gradually reduce weekly working hours (including on-call time) from the current
The FP-CGIL, UIL-PA and UIL-FPL public service federations are planning a week of action from 12-16 December with protests and strikes around the country in protest at the government’s budget for 2023. The unions argue that the budget fails to provide adequate funding across a range of services with nothing to address the cost-of-living crisis, to cover the renewal of collective agreements, to increase public employment, to end precarious contracts, to improve training and to ensure quality of services from childcare to health and social care and across local and national administration. The
The ver.di services union has welcomed the passage of the Hospital Care Relief Act, which establishes a nationwide requirement on staffing levels covering nurses in hospitals. The union is delighted that its long campaign has finally paid off and measures will be taken to tackle excessive workloads in the health sector. The basis for the legislation is a staffing assessment (PPR 2.0) that was developed by ver.di, the German Hospital Association and the German Nursing Council. Ver.di is also pleased about its successful advocacy for the development of needs-based personnel specifications for
After a month of strike action, the Fagforbundet, Delta and education trade unions have been able to secure an agreement with the PBL private childcare employers’ organisation on new pension arrangements. Workers will be able to build up a lifetime contractual pension from 1 January 2025 which will be comparable to that available to municipal employees. In addition, the percentage rate paid by employees for their own occupational pension will be reduced from 3% to 2.5% per cent in 2023, then down to 2% per cent when the new scheme is established. The employer's share is increased accordingly.
The FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-FPL health and social care unions have joined with other unions in the sector to organise a major demonstration in Rome on 29 October. The protest calls on the new government to take urgent action to address the long-term underfunding of the sector and the crucial question of understaffing. The unions want to see the resources made available to fund the next three-year collective agreement and additional improvements to pay and conditions made through decentralised bargaining. They are calling for an emergency employment plan and measures to ensure that private
Thanks to warning strikes and other actions by members, health and care union ver.di has negotiated an agreement with the University Hospital of Frankurt/Main that will ensure more staff and reduced workloads. This makes it the 23rd facility where such an agreement has been reached and negotiations are taking place or being prepared in other hospitals, including the University Hospital in Dresden and the privately run University Hospital of Giessen and Marburg. The agreement in Frankfurt/Main covers approximately 4,000 non-medical employees and stipulates shift staffing in line with the PPR 2