FNV, NU'91 and other health and social care unions say that they are appalled that the government has failed to implement a directive on personal protective equipment (PPE) that was put to parliament four months ago. The new regulations would make clear that health and social care workers can determine their PPE needs. Currently, different regulations apply that the unions say were drafted in the light of PPE shortages rather than with the health and safety of workers in mind. They point out that this is causing problems particularly in facilities for the elderly and disabled where some
Health and Safety
The three main trade unions - CGSP/ACOD, ACV/CSC and SLFP/VSOA - organised a 48-hour national strike from 6am on 24 September in protest at proposals to relax the rules on prisoner visits. The unions are extremely concerned that the proposed changes come at a time of increasing infection and pose a serious threat to staff and inmates.
The STAL local government union organised an action outside parliament on 16 September as part of its long-running campaign to secure special allowances for workers doing arduous, unhealthy or high-risk jobs. The union says that legislation has been in place since 1989 to allow for this but never implemented. STAL underlines the fact that even in normal circumstances thousands of municipal workers deliver essential services in risky working conditions and that this is even more the case with COVID-19. Along with the demonstration the union has written an open letter to the government, MPs and
The FNV trade union has called for compensation for employees in health and social care who have been infected with Covid-19 due to the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and criticises the government for failing to take appropriate action to protect workers and citizens. From 1 April Covid-19 was recognised as an occupational disease and the FNV argues that the government should have acted immediately to ensure provision of PPE. The union is considering legal action over the issue, noting that it has repeatedly raised problems with PPE in several meetings with various ministries. The
The KTAMS civil service union is taking widespread industrial action (excluding hospitals) over the government's failure to ensure safety in workplaces in response to the continuing threat of the COVID-19 virus. The union action began on 10 September but continued as the government didn't respond to the union's demands.
National trade union confederations are keeping the ETUC up-to-date with what trade unions and labour inspectorates are doing to ensure safety at the workplace in response to COVID-19 and, in particular, in relation to the return to work. In Austria, 20% of inspected workplaces have been told to improve their safety procedures while the Danish FH confederation reports some problems in private clinics and healthcare and it has taken action to ensure that health and social care facilities are fully part of the inspection regime. In Ireland more inspectors have been taken on to cope with
Joint Statement on the 10th anniversary of the Multi-sectoral guidelines to tackle third-party violence and harassment related to work
A decade ago, the European Sectoral Social Partners, EPSU, UNI EUROPA, ETUCE, HOSPEEM, CEMR, EFEE, EuroCommerce, CoESS identified third-party violence and harassment at the workplace as one of the key health and safety challenges to face within the European Economic Area
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
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
The BDDSz childcare workers' union has launched a photo campaign to highlight the failure of many workplaces in the sector to provide appropriate workplace clothing for employees. The union points out that this is a legal duty and all the more important during the current COVID-19 pandemic. According to the union some 40% of institutions are failing to abide by the law, rising to 70% of those involved in child protection.
Unions organising in state administration in both Spain and Portugal have raised serious concerns about the approach to telework and particularly governments taking the opportunity to regularise arrangements that were only adopted on an emergency basis. While there is recognition of the potential benefits to work-life balance, unions argue that fundamental issues need to be addressed through collective bargaining in relation to working time, the right to disconnect, provision of equipment, health and safety, training, contact with the workplace and the voluntary nature of the decision to