EPSU has signed a statement coordinated by Public Citizen which outlines a number of principles to guide the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with one unifying goal: making drugs affordable and accessible for all.
Apr. 23, 2020
Apr. 23, 2020 Health workers in Stockholm are benefitting from the implementation of an agreement on emergency situations that provides for a 120% additional payment on top of normal pay. The agreement was negotiated by several unions last year mainly in response to the spate of major forest fires. At the beginning of the month the SKR municipal employers' organisation agreed that the critical situation arising from COVID-19 met the criteria to activate the agreement in Stockholm.The agreement provides for longer working hours and different rules on rest periods. If emergency overtime is worked then the additional payment rises to 150%.
Apr. 22, 2020 The vida and GPA-djp services unions have negotiated a pay and hours deal for 125000 workers in the private health and social care sector. Pay will increase by 2.7% this year backdated to 1 February and then by inflation plus 0.6% from 1 January 2021. The unions had been demanding a 35-hour week for all workers in the sector and this remains a target. The new agreement, however, does provide for a 37-hour week from 1 January 2022. With weekly pay staying the same for full-time workers this will mean a higher hourly rate and part-time workers will be compensated with an additional increase of 2.7%. This year workers who have been dealing with patients infected with COVID-19 will get a bonus of EUR 500.
Apr. 15, 2020
Fighting covid19 in prisons and detention centres in Europe: Protected prison workers – protected inmates
Based primarily on reports provided by the EPSU prison services network, EPSU has put together an update on COVID-19 in Europe’s prisons and other detention centres, as well as five policy recommendations to protect prison workers and those under their care.
Apr. 09, 2020 The HWURF health workers' trade union has raised concerns with the government that some health institutions are pressuring healthcare staff to take leave, in some cases, unpaid leave or are suspending workers on partial pay where there is a need for self-isolation or a lack of work where non-urgent care and procedures have been cancelled. The union argues that this is clearly in contravention of the labour code and urges workers who are faced with this situation to raise it with the relevant authorities and report to the labour inspectorate. The union has also written to the prime minister to raise this and a number of other issues of concern to health workers including the lack of personal protective equipment, protection of specific health workers - those who are pregnant, with young children or over 65, resolving childcare provision for working parents and additional insurance coverage for health workers who become ill or die.
Apr. 09, 2020 The HWUU health workers' union met with the Ministry of Health to express its serious concerns about the situation facing health staff. It had five main demands for action in relation to provision of personal protective equipment (PPE); compulsory testing of medical professionals for COVID; remuneration (in case of emergency, overtime, etc.); insurance (to equate the work of workers in emergency conditions to the participants of hostilities); and the arrangements for commuting to work. The union has set up a hotline to support its members who face problems at work in relation to COVID-19.
Apr. 09, 2020 The NIPIP nurses' and midwives' union along with four other organisations representing health professionals has written to the government calling for guarantees that it will cover life insurance costs of health workers who fall ill or die as a result of contracting COVID-19. The organisations say that commitment should be the same as that already made to some hospital health employees. The NIPIP has also recognised the tremendous mental strain faced by many of its members and is providing psychiatric help for those who need it.
Apr. 09, 2020 Seven trade union organisations have called on the government to urgently address the critical lack of personal protective equipment in health and social care. The unions also raise serious concerns about the threats of disciplinary action against workers who refuse to work in dangerous situations or who want to talk publicly about the lack of equipment. They want the government to work with the unions to tackle the crisis and to do this it needs to guarantee transparency on procurement, distribution, timescales and exactly how and when workers can expect to get the protection they need and deserve. Unions have also raised concerns that PPE supply to care homes is still inadequate following a government announcement that 8 million items had been distributed to the sector. Unions have also approached the government to launch a coordinated effort to use more manufacturing capacity to produce PPE.
Apr. 08, 2020 The impact of the crisis on health staff has been highlighted by public services trade unions as the evidence from the CFDT shows. The union is pushing for official recognition of COVID-19 as an occupational disease and for a fund to be set up to deal with the long-term effects. Trade unions are pushing hard for more personal protective equipment and the CGT has given a formal notice of potential strike action across the public services to allow its members to take action where they feel that there is a real threat to workers and citizens. Action has already been taken in the care sector, for example, by workers at a care home in Le Havre who have been overwhelmed by the catastrophic situation there. Meanwhile, the FO trade union has launched a general legal action challenging the failure to take adequate action to address the emergency and calling on those responsible to face up to the deaths and infections that have resulted. For UNSA, its calls for increased protection, particularly for health workers, have been echoed by the independent and influential Académie Nationale de Médecine.
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.
Apr. 08, 2020 The public service union ver.di and care sector employers' organisation BVAP have agreed on a EUR 1500 payment for all care workers in recognition of the work they have been doing during the COVID-19 crisis. The payment will be made in July and part-time workers will get a proportional amount while trainees will get EUR 900. The payment will go to all nurses, carers and assistants working in long-term and home care and the aim is to make it generally binding and so covering also any commercial and other providers who are not members of BVAP. Ver.di and the employers are in the process of negotiating a collective agreement for the sector for the first time. Ver.di has also negotiated a short-time working agreement with the VKA municipal employers' organisation. While the threats of job and/or hours cuts are not affecting many public services, such as health, care, employment services and social security, others, such as sports and culture and local transport have been hit hard by closures and reduced activity. The agreement is effective from 1 April and runs until the end of the year. Most workers - those on pay grades 1-10, will get 95% of their take-home pay while those on the highest pay grade (11) will get 90%. Employers covered by the agreement will not be able to make any compulsory redundancies for the period short-time work and the following three months.