Jun. 03, 2020 The five main health trade unions – CGT, CFDT, FO, SUD and UNSA – have written a joint open letter to the health minister calling on him to set out clear proposals for a process of negotiation over the content of the plan for health that he intends to publish on 25 May. The plan should include initiatives on pay and working time but the unions not that they were not consulted at all in advance of the minister’s statement on 17 May and want clear reassurances that proper negotiations will take place with them as the representative unions in the sector. They have also called for a timetable for the negotiations and have underlined that they want to raise all the key issues on pay, jobs and services that they have been campaigning for in recent years. French unions
Jun. 03, 2020 Public service union UNISON reports that the Medirest private company will give its 2,200 staff, who provide cleaning, portering and catering services in NHS hospitals across England, will see their pay increase by an average of 5% from the beginning of June. The lowest pay rate will rise from £8.75 (EUR 9.80) to £9.21 (EUR 10.30) an hour, bringing it in line with the minimum rate for directly employed health workers.
Jun. 03, 2020 The Fagforbundet public service union has underlined that it wants to maintain its key priorities for the pay bargaining round that has been deferred to the autumn. The union aims to address the situation of skilled workers who have fallen behind on pay in recent years. It also wants to see the work done by many public service workers during the pandemic properly recognise, stressing that it may not be appropriate to target specific occupations as many services are provided by team work and so it would not necessarily be fair to reward some and not others. Fagforbundet is aware of the pressures there will be to moderate pay claims with the KS local government employers already calling for a pay freeze.
Jun. 03, 2020 The FOA trade union reports success in getting the government to set up a new committee to deal with personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing for COVID-19 infections. The new body will not only ensure that enough PPE and testing are available in response to any resurgence in the pandemic but also in preparation for any future crises. The union also underlined the need to take measures to ensure that health and social care are in general strengthened and not subject to the kinds of efficiency measures that have been common in recent years. FOA underlines the need for support for the elder care sector in particular which has been neglected by employers and the government to the detriment of workers and the elderly.
Jun. 03, 2020 The ver.di health union has welcomed parliamentary approval of the EUR 1500 COVID-19 bonus for all workers in elder care. This is important to ensure that all regions allocate funding to cover the payments following debate on how the bonus would be funded. Ver.di has also been critical of the private companies in the sector making high profits but unwilling to cover the full cost of the payment. The union says that it is still negotiating a new collective agreement with the BVAP employers’ organisation that it hopes will address the long-standing problem of low pay and poor working conditions in the sector.
Jun. 03, 2020 The younion and GÖD public service unions have called for urgent negotiations on measures to address training needs in healthcare in response to an interim report on changes to the nursing and care act. The unions say that around 67000 care workers need to be trained over the next 10 years. However, there have been worrying declines in those completing training in recent years with a 20% fall between 2014 and 2017. Younion and GÖD are calling for more resources to boost training provision including pay for trainees but also better pay and conditions in general for health worker in order to attract more people to the sector.
Jun. 03, 2020 When prime minister Sophie Wilmès visited the Saint-Pierre hospital in Brussels earlier this month she was met by rows of health workers with their backs turned. This reflected the growing anger among health workers about the failure of the government to deal with the pressing needs of the sector in terms of funding, staffing and personal protective equipment. Health trade unions are also angry about the two decrees (see CB News 9) on assistants carrying out nursing duties and requisitioning staff. Unions have issued official strike declarations in response to the failure to have a proper social dialogue on these key issues
May. 29, 2020 The STAL municipal services union has negotiated an agreement with the AMBILITAL inter-municipal waste company that provides for an extraordinary allowance of 300 euros for all workers and guarantees to protect the incomes of workers subject to containment measures during the COVID-19 outbreak. The union sees these as essential measures to address the current emergency and reflect STAL’s longstanding aim to achieve greater recognition of the arduousness nature of the work in the sector.
May. 29, 2020 The SIPTU health union has reiterated its demand that the government publishes full details of where over 7,600 workers have tested positive for Covid-19. The union says that the data is needed to identify any Covid-19 hotspots and to understand if health workers were exposed due to the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) or poor enforcement of protocols. It will also allow the union to find out how these workers were treated by their employer. SIPTU is also concerned about health workers taken on by employment agencies who are not covered by Covid-19 paid leave or ‘death in service’ policies. The union wants health workers exposed to the disease to receive compensation for loss of salary and state support for medical costs including counselling.
May. 29, 2020 The FNV trade union argues that the failure of the government to issue clear guidance personal protective equipment (PPE) means that many employers are not providing all health and care workers with the necessary protection. An FNV survey found that 60% of staff in nursing homes and home care lack protection and even a third staff in hospitals don’t have enough PPE. Non-nursing staff in particular unprotected and practice varies significantly from employer to employer with some saying they won’t provide PPE until the government issues a directive. FNV is planning to call for a one-off bonus for care staff in the short term, but also better wages and terms of employment in the longer term. There are already signals that healthcare institutions are expecting financial shortages but the union argues that this should in no way be used to deprive healthcare staff of the financial rewards they deserve. FNV (NL)
May. 29, 2020 in a meeting with the Ministry of Health on 13 May, the FSS-CCOO and FeSP-UGT health sector federations have called for action on staffing and pay and conditions across the sector. In particular, the FSS-CCOO demanded that the Ministry of Health schedule negotiations covering the National Health Service (SNS). The union is unhappy that it was only on 13 May that negotiations have been convened during the entire period of the crisis. The federations want to see an extension of contracts until the end of the year for all those employed on temporary contracts to help deal with the crisis. This will help deal with the restart of normal health activity and increased waiting lists. The unions want to see investment in primary care with more staff to monitor COVID-19 patients and ensure no further outbreaks in residential care; improve the supply of personal protective equipment with increased national production; increased funding for health and greater investment in technological innovation and declaration of COVID-19 as an occupational disease. The FeSP-UGT has also suggested measures such as partial retirement to support the many older workers in the health service and reiterated the call for full restoration of bonuses cut after the last crisis to be fully restored. FSS-CCOO (ES) FeSP-UGT (ES)
May. 29, 2020 The three main unions in private health and residential care - Fp Cgil, Cisl Fp and Uil Fpl – are planning a general strike 18 June over the renewal of collective agreements. Minimum services will be provided as selected workers strike for the entire day or shift. The unions have been continually frustrated by the Aris and Aiop employer organisations who have failed to finalise negotiations and renew the private health agreement that expired 14 years ago. In residential health care is has been eight years since the last agreement. Negotiations have been going on for over two and a half years and regional authorities are committed to funding the renewal of the agreement but the employers have put further conditions on signing off the deal. The unions stress that employees in private health have been working as hard and facing the same COVID-19 risks as workers in public health care but without the same pay and conditions.