Union calls on government to tackle situation in health and care sectors

Netherlands Netherlands

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.

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