SIPTU calls for better rights, education and supports for all health care workers
Today (Tuesday, 25th April) a delegation of SIPTU Health members are taking part in a tripartite meeting, with unions, employers and Government representatives on “Improving Employment and Working Conditions in Health Services” at the International Labor Organisation (ILO) headquarters in Geneva.
In his ILO address, SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said it is vital that health care workers’ in Ireland have their voices heard on the international stage, “The care sector is key for the health and well-being of any decent society. It also provides the possibility to generate decent jobs in Ireland and across the world.
With up to 40 million new health jobs required by 2030 to meet changes in global demographics, we need more investment for better working conditions and better planning for the entire sector now. Care has the potential to provide for decent lives for workers and communities but only if there is the proper investment.
Today, we took our campaign to the ILO to make our case for the need for state funding to provide Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for support and professional grades and to build alliances with our international comrades.
We will now make a submission to the Irish Government on how we believe Ireland can live up to our obligation of delivering better health care for communities and better jobs for health workers into the future.”
Speaking at the meeting, SIPTU National Executive member, Broc Delaney emphasised the serious challenges faced by homecare workers. He also stressed the need for additional education supports and state registration for health care assistants. “Irish home care workers are exposed to precarious working conditions in different parts of the care sector including zero-hours contracts, expanding working hours, and unpaid travel time.
Deirdre Fagan, SIPTU Shop Steward, told delegates that unions, employers and Government must also confront the real issue of exploitation of health care assistants and related grades by securing accredited qualifications, regulation and registration.
“Most workers in the health care assistant grade are women. Something needs to be done to end the exploitation of these workers. Our calls for decent work and decent lives for all health workers was well received and is shared by our international colleagues and we look forward to working with them to grow our campaign.”