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.
After 11 weeks of strike action and more than 25 days of negotiations, health union ver.di and the six university hospitals in North Rhine Westphalia have agreed on the key points for a collective agreement that addresses excessive workloads and understaffing. The agreement will run from the beginning of 2023 and sets out the ratio of employees to patients required on each shift. If this ratio isn’t met or if other stressful situations occur, those affected receive stress points and then an additional day off for every seven points accumulated. In the first full year of implementation up to 11
Members of the Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp and Uil-Pa public service federations have been mobilising across the Ministry of Culture in protests over staff shortages and other issues, including application of the new collective agreement, remote work regulations and health and safety. The unions want to see an extraordinary recruitment plan implemented and warn of national strike action in September if the Ministry doesn’t respond. Meanwhile, members of the three federations in the Ministry of Defence are also mobilising over staff shortages and the impact of privatisation along with concerns about
The ver.di services union and IG BCE industry union have negotiated a new 21-month agreement with the Uniper energy company. There is a 3% pay increase for all workers and trainees from 1 July this year, followed by a 4% increase on 1 April 2023. There is also a change to the pay structure so that trainees taken on as employees are not placed on a lower starting rate. In contrast, negotiations in the GASAG gas company are much more challenging with ver.di calling a warning strike for 27 June after six bargaining rounds that have failed to bring the two sides closer together. The union’s
The FOA and DSR trade unions have both published official data revealing the reality of overwork, understaffing and low pay in the health and social care sectors. FOA quotes from the latest survey by the Danish Working Environment Authority covering 30,000 workers. This shows that 23% of social and health care assistants say that they have often or constantly felt stressed within the past two weeks. Of all the industry groups, 'Residential Institutions and Home Care' is the sector where the largest proportion of employees feel stressed. The union says that understaffing, a high rate of sick
Trade unions, including the FNV and NU’91, and employers in the care sector have made a joint approach to government to boost funding for the sector by €2.5 billion to address problems of low pay and understaffing. Problems of staff shortages are being felt right across the sector from care for the disabled, care for the elderly to mental health care and to University Medical Centres and hospitals. It is estimated that the current shortfall of 49,000 workers will rise to 117,000 in 2030. There are also major problems with staff turnover and high absenteeism. The ageing of the population will
On 15 June the Labour Court in Bonn rejected an application by the local University Hospital to ban strikes being organised by the ver.di trade union. The strike action is part of what has so far been an eight-week campaign in six university hospitals in the North Rhine Westphalia region to secure a new collective agreement that addresses overwork and understaffing. The union wants a deal that covers all professional groups in the hospitals and has rejected an offer by the employers that would only cover nurses involved in direct patient care. Ver.di wants to see shift-specific minimum numbers
Services union ver.di has strongly restated its demand for needs-based and binding staffing levels across all hospitals, following the publication of new research revealing a shortfall of up to 50,000 full-time employees in intensive care units. The union argues that this is a huge gap that endangers intensive care as well as the health of professional nurses. The study published by the Hans Böckler Foundation, calculates that in order to comply with the Nursing Staff Lower Limits Ordinance alone, the number of full-time positions would have to rise from 28,000 (as of 2020) to 50,800. If the
The Super and Tehy health unions are maintaining their ban on overtime and shift changes following their rejection of the proposed deal for health and local government. They continue to press for higher pay increases as essential to help tackle the urgent staff shortages in health and social care. Meanwhile, municipal unions JHL and Jyty are also keeping up their industrial action despite their provisional approval of the agreement. They are pushing for the agreement to be finalised and for the expected payments to be made by the summer, arguing that workers could lose out by over €300 if pay
The Super and Tehy health unions have firmly rejected the settlement proposed by the conciliation committee in the current dispute in local government and health. Meanwhile, the JHL and Jyty municipal services union have endorsed the proposal. The health unions argue that the pay increases on offer are inadequate and simply don’t address the urgent staffing problems in health and social care. The unions are now considering a mass resignation to put pressure on health employers to negotiate a better deal. For local government workers, the three-year pay deal should deliver pay increases of 1.9%
Public and private sector health trade unions – younion, GÖD, vida and GPA – are continuing their “health offensive” campaign with rallies across the country on 12 May. The unions, supported by the ÖGB trade union confederation, chamber of workers and Vienna chamber of doctors are calling for major reforms of the health system and urgent measures to improve pay and conditions. The unions argue that better pay and conditions are essential to tackle the staffing shortages that are posing a threat to services and are creating excessive workloads for health workers.
Mediation continues to try to resolve the dispute in the municipal sector where unions JHL and Jyty have planned for more strike action from 3 May if mediation fails to deliver a positive result. As of 28 April, the chair of the conciliation committee said that the two side were still far apart on pay and pay development. Meanwhile the SuPer and Tehy health unions cancelled planned strike action that was due to take place from 20 April, although they are continuing their work-to-rule. The two unions say that they were left with no alternative when the government threatened to introduce
The Tehy and SuPer nurses’ unions have confirmed the dates for the second period of industrial action following the first set of strikes launched on 1 April. The next stage will begin on 20 April and end on 4 May and will affect specialised medical care in 13 hospital districts, with approximately 35,000 nurses on strike. The postponement is to allow the Conciliation Committee sufficient time for mediation. The severe shortage of nurses in areas like elderly care means that this sector will be excluded from the strike as the unions point out that the staffing levels regulated by law are often
The DSR nurses’ union reports on the findings of a new survey by the Danish Nursing Council (DNC) that exposes the impact of staff shortages on services. The findings reveal that virtually all respondents (97%) said that they had experienced too few nurses at work in the past month, with 82% of these saying it had impaired patient safety. The DNC study says that the shortage of nurses has several consequences, including the closure of beds and a negative impact on patients' conditions. About a third had experienced patients being sent home or transferred before it was professionally sound.
The Tehy and SuPer trade unions representing nurses and other medical staff have set out plans for strike action to give impetus to the negotiations in health and social services. The two unions want to see positive action on salaries and have set out a five-year rescue programme for the health and social services sector. This includes increases to the basic wage level of 3.6% annually in addition to the normal contract increases that protect purchasing power. With women making up 90% of the care workforce, the unions argue that this is an essential measure to address the persistent gender pay