May. 04, 2020 The FNV trade union has again criticised the failure to provide adequate personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing for health staff. The unions says that at least nine health workers have died as a result of the virus and that measures still need to be taken to ensure that safety is prioritised. The FNV also argues that this is a longer term problem and the involvement of employees in safety protocols is essential. Meanwhile the union has confirmed that the collective agreement covering social workers has been declared generally binding and so covers all workers in the sector. The two-year deal runs to July 2021 and includes pay increases of 3.25% for both 2019 and 2020 along with the same increases for holiday allowances and end-of-year bonuses.
May. 04, 2020 On 28 and 29 April, the ver.di union, representing health and care workers, organised a photo action, projecting photos of care workers on key buildings including the ministry of health and parliament. The union was drawing attention to the work being done by hundreds of thousands of workers across health and social care despite the risks and often without adequate personal protective equipment. According to the union at least 42 health and care staff have died as a result of COVID-19. While welcoming the EUR 1500 bonus paid to staff in elder care, the union points out that not only have many health and other social care workers not received any bonus, but more importantly action needs to be taken in the longer term to improve pay and conditions across the sector.
Apr. 24, 2020 Trade unions representing health workers - INMO, SIPTU and Forsa - have been highly critical of the government's failure to come up with an effective plan to provide childcare for nurses, midwives and other care workers. Unions report that many health workers are staying away from work or using annual leave or sick leave as they have no childcare provision. Those who can find childcare are often paying high costs and proposals and unions are saying that proposals that offer leave for partners of health workers fail to recognise the limitation of the measure. Unions are particularly disappointed that so little has been done since the issue was raised weeks ago when the government closed schools and childcare facilities.
Apr. 24, 2020
The European Council has adopted a number of measures to assist businesses and workers as our economies are hit hard by the COVID19 pandemic. The package makes available €540 billion for euro zone member states.
Apr. 24, 2020 The OSZSP health and social care union has joined with the doctors' union in calling for a bonus for employees of hospitals, emergency medical services, social services facilities and public health protection authorities, who provide health and social services to patients and clients with COVID-19, or are at risk of COVID-19 infection. The three levels of monthly bonus would reflect the degree of risk faced by the worker and would start at CSK 20000 (EUR 730), rising to CSK 30000 (EUR 1100) and then CZK 40000 (EUR 1645). The initial response from the prime minister is to acknowledge that health and social care employees are a priority group for the government. The union is also in talks with social service employers.
Apr. 24, 2020 The Fp-Cgil public service federation has launched an online support service for health workers on the front line of the fight against COVID-19. Recognising the increased psycho-social risks for care staff working long hours and having to adapt to emergency working arrangements, the union has put together a pool of 40 or so psychologists, psychiatrists and other welfare support workers who are providing their services free for this online service.
Apr. 24, 2020 A new collective agreement covering the 75000 workers in the state sector has been agreed, running 23 months from 1 April 2020 to 28 February 2022. The pay rise over the period will be 3.07% in line with other pay increases in the current bargaining round. Negative elements introduced during the so-called competitiveness pact with the then right-wing government in 2016 have been removed. From now on the annual holiday bonus will be paid in full (it was cut by 30% in each of the last three years) and the 24 hours of extra unpaid work each year will also end although there is a provision for extra hours to be worked but at normal pay. Meanwhile, there are major disagreements, including on the overall pay increase, in the negotiations in local government that cover 310000 workers.
Apr. 24, 2020 The HWURF health workers' union reports that special COVID-19 tax measures have been extended to doctors with personal income tax incentive payments for those facing special working conditions and additional workloads when working with patients with the virus and people at risk of infection. Meanwhile the FNPR trade union confederation has called for state-wide base salaries to be set across healthcare and other parts of the public service to end the wide variation in salaries between regions. The measure was due to be discussed at the Tripartite Commission for the Regulation of Social and Labour Relations on 24 April. The FNPR had earlier made a call for a 50% increase in pay for health workers dealing with COVID-19 patients.
Apr. 23, 2020
Now is not the time to negotiate trade agreements: governments must focus on securing medical supplies and saving lives endangered by COVID-19
Hundreds of trade unions and civil society organisation are calling on trade negotiators and the World Trade Organisations (WTO) to stop trade negotiations and to focus all governmental resources on dealing with the public health emergency brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apr. 23, 2020
EPSU has signed a statement coordinated by Public Citizen which outlines a number of principles to guide the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with one unifying goal: making drugs affordable and accessible for all.
Apr. 23, 2020 Health workers in Stockholm are benefitting from the implementation of an agreement on emergency situations that provides for a 120% additional payment on top of normal pay. The agreement was negotiated by several unions last year mainly in response to the spate of major forest fires. At the beginning of the month the SKR municipal employers' organisation agreed that the critical situation arising from COVID-19 met the criteria to activate the agreement in Stockholm.The agreement provides for longer working hours and different rules on rest periods. If emergency overtime is worked then the additional payment rises to 150%.
Apr. 22, 2020 The vida and GPA-djp services unions have negotiated a pay and hours deal for 125000 workers in the private health and social care sector. Pay will increase by 2.7% this year backdated to 1 February and then by inflation plus 0.6% from 1 January 2021. The unions had been demanding a 35-hour week for all workers in the sector and this remains a target. The new agreement, however, does provide for a 37-hour week from 1 January 2022. With weekly pay staying the same for full-time workers this will mean a higher hourly rate and part-time workers will be compensated with an additional increase of 2.7%. This year workers who have been dealing with patients infected with COVID-19 will get a bonus of EUR 500.
Apr. 15, 2020
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.
Apr. 09, 2020 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 raise this and a number of other issues of concern to health workers including the lack of personal protective equipment, protection of specific health workers - those who are pregnant, with young children or over 65, resolving childcare provision for working parents and additional insurance coverage for health workers who become ill or die.
Apr. 09, 2020 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.