COVID doctor

Over 1,300 healthcare workers are taking industrial action as of 8am on Friday, the UHM – Voice of the Workers union has announced.

As of Friday, Allied healthcare professionals, emergency ambulance responders and Steward Health Care employees will only perform duties relating to COVID, medical emergencies and those for cancer patients. 

The union said that the industrial action is taking place due to “inadequate action” by the Government on recent agreements, and its refusal to address issues that the union says have been pending for several years. 

Specifically, the union has said that it takes issue with a lack of action following proposals submitted in July 2019 relating to improved conditions for medical front liners and the creation of a structure for supporting learning. 

Furthermore, a collective agreement signed by the Government in 2020, which addressed issues such as the payment of arrears from 2019 to Allied health professional has not been implemented, the union said.

After 18 months, it says, the Government is still refusing to discuss a new agreement, which, the union says, is in contravention of its obligation to respect a process of dialogue.

In 2019, the union campaigned for the Government to recognise its representation of professionals working for Steward Healthcare, and an agreement was reached on their absorption into the state mechanism, which would bring their conditions and fees into line with Government professionals. 

The union said that whilst the Government said that they would effect equal pay from the end of December 2020, and was given till the end of January by the union to do so, it has not kept its promise, and as such, the industrial action has been called.

Industrial action was also called in July of 2020 but was suspended as a “show of goodwill” by UHM, after the Government agreed to enter talks.

The union said it hopes it will not have to “continue escalating the actions of these more than 1,300 workers to take what is theirs by right”.

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