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 employers say that workers should not cover their faces.
Health and care unions demand implementation of protective equipment rules
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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. 05, 2020 Trade unions, including FNV and NU'91, have agreed a set of guidelines on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers in nursing homes and those providing home care. This comes after union concern that existing guidance was unclear and created to confusion at the workplace. The unions and employers are also working together to ensure that there is sufficient PPE available not just to ensure that the guidance is applied in practice but also to provide for those workers who ask for PPE in other circumstances. Meanwhile in the central government sector negotiations on a new collective agreement are due to start on 11 June having been postponed from March. The current agreement will continue to apply even beyond its 1 July expiry date.
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)