Pandemic places long-term care work among world’s most dangerous jobs
UNI Global Union, which represents 2 million care workers worldwide, today said the COVID-19 pandemic has made nursing homes some of the most hazardous—and even deadly—workplaces in the world.
In a new report released today—The Most Dangerous Job: The Impact of COVID-19 on Long-Term Care Workers in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, and Australia—UNI reveals how similar issues across the long-term care sector in five countries contributed to COVID-19 contagion and deaths not just for residents but also the vulnerable workers in the industry.
“We are already facing tragedy of an unspeakable scale, but I fear that much more loss is in store,” said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “We do not know the impact that COVID will have on workers over time, and unless the working conditions that helped virus spread like wildfire through care homes—the lack of PPE, low wages, no paid sick days, no union representation—are fixed, serious problems will persist after vaccinations and after this pandemic.”
Speaking following the release of the report, SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “There has never been a greater need for serious investment by the Government in the wider nursing home sector. There is an over reliance on the ‘for profit’ sector to provide this essential care to our most vulnerable citizens. The Government has a duty to ensure that all health care workers in both public and private nursing homes have decent terms and conditions of employment including pay, adequate pension provision and paid sick leave.
“Long term residential care settings have been the hardest hit sector affected by the pandemic. Over 1,600 people have died with Covid-19 in long term residential care settings since the outset of this dreadful pandemic with 369 of these separate tragedies happening in January alone. The Government has a responsibility to ensure that all residents and staff are protected and have a safe working environment with respectable conditions of employment.”