“It’s time to #Care4Carers by ensuring protective equipment, biosafety protocols, testing and training for hospital staff. We stop #COVID19 by taking care of each other.” With this tweet, the week of action in support of hospital personnel in the Americas begins today, with the participation of unions from more than 10 countries in the region. Trade unionists from across the region continue their advocacy work so that workers facing COVID19 on the front lines not only have access to the necessary personal protection equipment, but also see their labour rights protected.
“In a context of global crisis, as trade unionists in our region we must be vigilant to avoid layoffs of health workers, ensure adequate payment of hazard bonuses and continue to fight for the rights that hospital staff need to be able to rest and recover before returning to work,” said Marcio Mozone, Regional Secretary of UNI Americas.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, UNI Global Union has repeatedly demanded protection for frontline workers in the health care industry. Last March, UNI Global Union General Secretary Christy Hoffman sent a letter to WHO General Director Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, demanding better WHO guidelines for home care workers.
Miguel Ángel Zubieta, UNI Care global president said: “This pandemic that shakes the world finds health workers fighting hard against Covid19. Their safety is everyone’s safety. Unions demand that protocols are followed and that no health worker take risks due to the absence of protective equipment”.
“We also demand that they have full rights to unionization and collective bargaining, because this immense crisis demonstrated that where workers are organized there is greater capacity to face this unprecedented situation. Unions are saving lives, the lives of workers and patients. Let’s remember this when this crisis is over”, he concluded.
Health employers around the world have a duty to protect some of the most vulnerable members of society from COVID-19. But as the World Health Organization has already warned, the growing and severe disruption in the global supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), caused by increased demand, hoarding and misuse, is putting them at risk. As governments struggle to equip health workers, trade unions are increasingly pushing to keep workers safe and save lives.