The national nurses' association is threatening strike action if the government doesn't agree to talks to address serious understaffing and low pay. The union says that there was already a shortfall of 1500 nurses before the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation has seriously deteriorated as the country has been hit by a second wave. Infection of health staff is increasing with around 1000 nurses now in quarantine while those at work are facing increasing workloads, long working houjs and greater stress. The government has promised some additional funding but the union wants to see urgent action
The German subsidiary of the Veolia environmental services multinational has agreed to set up a €1 million pandemic fund after negotiations with the ver.di trade union. The fund will be available until the end of 2020 and will provide financial support of up to €10000 to workers who have been affected by COVID-19. The employees who could benefit include workers with children under 12 who can't find childcare, single parents, workers with other care responsibilities and who have been through family bereavements. The company implemented a short-time working agreement and topped up the funding
Portuguese health workers are the latest to get a bonus (50% of basic pay) for their work in working in the emergency situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Netherlands all care workers get €1000 while in Germany so far it has only been workers in eldercare who get a €1500 payment. In Belgium, some health workers are getting €300 while workers in private health and social care in Austria received €500, the same as frontline staff in Bulgaria. In the UK all care workers in Wales have received a payment of €570. In contrast to these lump sums, the COVID-19 payments for health staff
The main municipal unions in the Nordic region - Fagforbundet (Norway), Kommunal (Sweden), JHL (Finland) and FOA (Denmark) - have called on government and municipal employers to work together with unions to tackle the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. They argue that local and regional authorities need the finance to maintain jobs as well as the pay and condition of the municipal workforce and that these will be crucial to the economic recovery. The unions stress above all that austerity cannot be the answer and that the contribution of municipal workers should be recognised with funding for wage
Vision and Kommunal, the trade unions representing workers and managers in eldercare, have issued a joint call for action on working conditions and work organisation to address the long-standing problems in the sector that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis. The unions underline the importance of continuity of care that they say is best delivered through a stable base of long-term and full-time employment. They have set a target of increasing the proportion of permanent employees to 90 percent. They also want to see a benchmark of 25 employees per manager in the elderly care to help
Fourteen trade unions that organise workers right across the National Health Service have sent joint letters to the prime minister and chancellor (finance minister) calling for quick action to agree a pay rise for all health workers. The unions argue that the public want to see health workers properly valued and rewarded and that a decent pay rise would be a step in the right direction. The unions don't want a simple COVID-19 bonus but a pay rise that will help retain and recruit staff and address the falling purchasing power of health workers who have seen pay frozen or capped below inflation
Public services union Fórsa believes that working time should be an important element of any discussion around telework/remote working. The union is preparing a response to a government consultation on remote working as well as a guide for negotiators. It is estimated that up to a third of employees in Ireland were remote working at the height of the COVID-19 emergency and the union now wants to ensure that conditions for telework are fully negotiated with proper safeguards and that emergency arrangements are not simply made permanent.
The SINTAP trade union has welcomed the payment of a COVID-19 bonus for health workers who have been involved in treating infected patients. It is a lump sum worth 50% of basic pay. Workers will also get an extra day of leave for every 80 hours they have worked during the emergency and a further day of leave for every 48 hours of overtime worked during the same period. The union has, however, called for the bonus to be extended to other groups of workers. Meanwhile the SEP nurses' union has secured changes for nurses which ensure firstly that if infected with COVID-19 this is assumed to be
Statement on Covid-19 and its aftermath by EU social partners in central governments: investing in public sector staff
Social partners for central government administrations -EUPAE, on the employers’ side representing 18 EU governments and TUNED, for the trade unions led by EPSU- reached a joint statement on Covid-19 and its aftermath, following an online meeting on 26 June 2020.
With a public statement, 88 MEPs from 6 political groups express their support to the letter that EPSU, AGE and EDF sent on 1 July urging the European Parliament to establish in inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 in long term care facilities across Europe.
The European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for the Hospitals and Healthcare sector shared its view with MEP Cristian-Silviu BUŞOI on the draft report on the proposed EU4Health programme in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The vida trade union has criticised employers in private health institutions for unilaterally postponing negotiations until September. The union argues that this leaves workers paying the price and that rather than COVID-19 being used as an excuse for suspending negotiations it should be a good reason for a quick settlement to compensate for inflation and with an increased allowance for dangerous work. There have been actions around the country on the issue and the union will be looking for workers to put more pressure on employers to resume negotiations.
The Kommunal municipal services union has been successful in its call for an investigation of the Work Environment Authority (WEA) (see EPSU CB News No.9, May 2020). The union made the application to the parliamentary ombudsman on the basis that the WEA had failed to fully address issues related to the inadequate provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). The union argued that the authority had consulted more with employers than the union. Meanwhile Kommunal has also been successful in getting changes to the Public Health Agency's guidance on PPE use in social care, making clear that