Health and Safety
Fighting covid19 in prisons and detention centres in Europe: Protected prison workers – protected inmates
Based primarily on reports provided by the EPSU prison services network, EPSU has put together an update on COVID-19 in Europe’s prisons and other detention centres, as well as five policy recommendations to protect prison workers and those under their care.
The HWURF health workers' trade union has raised concerns with the government that some health institutions are pressuring healthcare staff to take leave, in some cases, unpaid leave or are suspending workers on partial pay where there is a need for self-isolation or a lack of work where non-urgent care and procedures have been cancelled. The union argues that this is clearly in contravention of the labour code and urges workers who are faced with this situation to raise it with the relevant authorities and report to the labour inspectorate. The union has also written to the prime minister to
The HWUU health workers' union met with the Ministry of Health to express its serious concerns about the situation facing health staff. It had five main demands for action in relation to provision of personal protective equipment (PPE); compulsory testing of medical professionals for COVID; remuneration (in case of emergency, overtime, etc.); insurance (to equate the work of workers in emergency conditions to the participants of hostilities); and the arrangements for commuting to work. The union has set up a hotline to support its members who face problems at work in relation to COVID-19.
The NIPIP nurses' and midwives' union along with four other organisations representing health professionals has written to the government calling for guarantees that it will cover life insurance costs of health workers who fall ill or die as a result of contracting COVID-19. The organisations say that commitment should be the same as that already made to some hospital health employees. The NIPIP has also recognised the tremendous mental strain faced by many of its members and is providing psychiatric help for those who need it.
Seven trade union organisations have called on the government to urgently address the critical lack of personal protective equipment in health and social care. The unions also raise serious concerns about the threats of disciplinary action against workers who refuse to work in dangerous situations or who want to talk publicly about the lack of equipment. They want the government to work with the unions to tackle the crisis and to do this it needs to guarantee transparency on procurement, distribution, timescales and exactly how and when workers can expect to get the protection they need and
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
The impact of the crisis on health staff has been highlighted by public services trade unions as the evidence from the CFDT shows. The union is pushing for official recognition of COVID-19 as an occupational disease and for a fund to be set up to deal with the long-term effects. Trade unions are pushing hard for more personal protective equipment and the CGT has given a formal notice of potential strike action across the public services to allow its members to take action where they feel that there is a real threat to workers and citizens. Action has already been taken in the care sector, for
The CCOO-Sanidad health service union has repeated its call on the government to change the protocol on discharging health workers from treatment for COVID-19 and returning to work. The union argues that the procedure should be no different to that applying to other workers and that it is essential to ensure that health workers have completely recovered from infection. It warns that pressure to get health staff back to work has contributed to the 19400 health worker infections and 13 deaths. The federation has called for medical students in the final year of their studies to be called up to
On 3 April, the main trade union confederations - Cgil, Csil and Uil - signed an agreement with the public service ministry covering the health and safety and working time of civil servants. This follows the 25 March agreement covering the safety of healthcare workers and the 19 March agreement in the waste sector. The agreement covers the role of trade unions, smart working, rules for workers who have to attend workplaces and the health and safety procedures to be followed to protect both workers and members of the public, such as closure of facilities for cleaning where there have been COVID