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.
The FESAP federation of public service unions, including the SINTAP trade union, has written to the prime minister calling for a state budget in 2023 that would allow for pay increases across the public sector and a wide range of improvements in other employment conditions. Alongside the need to address the scourge of low pay across the public sector, especially for workers with long service, the federation also wants action on career development, precarious contracts and health and safety – all measures it says are necessary to address staff shortages. Meanwhile, the STAL local government
Firefighters’ unions, including Fp-Cgil-Vvf and Fns-Cisl have called a national demonstration in Rome on 14 September with urgent demands on pay, staffing, equipment and safety. With services stretched to the limit to tackle the increasing number of forest fires, flood and other emergencies, the unions argue that the number of active firefighters needs to be increased from 33000 to 40000 and professional and technical staff from 2000 to 5000. They are also concerned about inadequate and out-of-date equipment which not only hampers their response to emergencies but exposes firefighters to
Services union ver.di has welcomed the federal government’s statement that it wants to tackle skills shortages but argues strongly that in doing so it needs to address the big challenges in the public sector itself. Ver.di points out that education in kindergartens, schools – especially vocational schools – and universities, is key but the shortage of skilled workers in these sectors has long been a problem. Additional jobs and better working conditions in the public sector are needed. This not just about pay but about providing more training opportunities, better equipment and increased
The FOA trade union has sent a wake-up call to politicians from all sides about the need to address pay in the welfare sector. The union brought together 1200 of its shop stewards from across the country in a two-day conference to discuss pay in health, social care and other services and to really gauge the feeling at the workplace. The message from the conference was a mounting concern that society does not recognise the value of welfare work. FOA warns of increasing frustration and discontent among workers if action is not taken. It is already extremely difficult to recruit workers to the
The NSF and Fagforbundet trade unions have been considering the findings of a major survey of over 5000 nurses, nursing auxiliaries and assistants in their 50s and 60s, that reveals the pressure they face in terms of physical and mental stress and the main reasons why they tend to leave before retirement age. Increased staffing is seen as an essential measure to address the problem and help ensure that more of this skilled and experienced group of workers stay in work for longer. The unions also focus on the extent of part-time work and that while some nurses opt for fewer hours because they
EPSU has sent a message of solidarity to nurses' unions in Finland in the face of the government’s threat to ban strikes in health and social care. The federation has also written to the Finnish prime minister urging her to withdraw this unacceptable threat to the right to strike.
While welcoming progress on addressing health and care staffing issues, public services union ver.di is calling for major improvements to the hospital care relief bill. The union worked with the German Hospital Association and the German Nursing Council to develop the PPR 2.0 instrument for needs-based personnel assessment in nursing and argues that this should form the basis of the legislation and not be mentioned only in the explanatory memorandum. Ver.di says that the basis for staffing must be the care needs of patients and these should be clearly formulated in the law, with minimum
The TEHY and SuPer nurses’ unions are stepping up their campaign of industrial action to secure a better pay offer from the municipal employers. The two unions have maintained an ban on overtime and shift changes since before the summer but have now tightened up those restrictions and also announced a series of strike actions beginning with a one-day stoppage in Kanta-Häme in the South West on 2 September. So far three further strikes – each of four days – have been declared in Turku, Helsinki and Oulu with two running from 6-9 September and the Oulu action running from 13 to 16 September. The
The FNV trade union is warning that government funding plans for prison services will have a major negative impact on staff and inmates. A recent report by consultants PwC says that an additional €398 million is needed to adequately finance services over the next 10 years. In response the government says it does not want to invest more than €170 million and so is effectively proposing a cut of €200 million. The FNV argues that the government approach will have serious implications for work pressure and safety. The union says that there have been staff shortages and high workloads for years
The debate over a shorter working week continues next month with a hybrid conference on 20-21 October – “A 4-day week in Europe: how to get real working time reduction”. Organised by the European Network for the Fair Sharing of Working Time, the conference will cover practical examples of working time reduction in both public and private sectors, including the major move to a shorter working week in Iceland. There will also be contributions from trade unionists from Switzerland and France. Another conference supported by the European Trade Union Institute will focus on the impact of labour
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