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03/08/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Unions launch RESPECT = RECOGNITION health workers campaign

Ahead of the Workplace Relations Commission engagement on Thursday morning (5th August) SIPTU. Fórsa, and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) have launched an awareness campaign highlighting the real life experience of health workers during the pandemic. The unions are seeking tangible recognition and compensation for frontline healthcare workers’ work during the pandemic.

Such schemes have been applied in Northern Ireland, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Austria, Hungary and elsewhere.

Jackie Brown, a Forsa member works in emergency department admin at one of Dublin’s main acute hospitals, and provided this thoughtful account for the campaign.

INMO member and ED Nurse, Moira Wynne said: “I risked my family to do my job. I love what I do, and I’m 100% committed, but the unknown and extraordinary circumstances that this virus brought to the ED where I work just melted staff.  We’ve gone above and beyond, and we’re exhausted. A national clap was so appreciated but it ends there. We are exhausted on the frontline and need to see tangible recognition.”

SIPTU member and household staff in Cork, Fiona Grant, said: “I worked 6 days a week for months as I felt we all had to play our part in helping fight the pandemic. The staff have given 110% for the last year and a half. All health staff should be recognised.”

INMO member and ED Nurse, Eric Lawsin, said: “The ongoing battle for Covid compensation leaves health care workers questioning why they’ve put themselves and their families at such risk over the past year and a half. We see other countries getting compensated and it makes morale on the frontline so low. Everything we do is for our patients, but it’s important we’re looked after too. An incentive to keep going particularly when we don’t know what’s ahead would mean everything to us.”

SIPTU member and catering assistant, Luke Bell, said: “Working through Covid has been very challenging. We have worked through continuous change. Emotionally and physically it has been very tough to adapt. The infection rates among my colleagues in the health service has been sky high and some of them are still suffering from long Covid-19. These sacrifices needs to be recognised by the Government.”

Siobhan Rimmer, Fórsa member, Hospital Ward Clerk in a major Dublin hospital said: “The last year has been very intense for all health workers. We are very tired. I got Covid myself in the first wave. It seems to be all take from the Government and they don’t want to give anything back. That has to change.”

SIPTU member and Radiographer in Dublin, Aine Kelly, said: “Health care workers were forced to use annual leave for childcare as there was no provision of childcare for healthcare workers. Our employers were as flexible as they could be but many parents who work in our health service now have a real deficit of annual leave as a result. We want recognition for our efforts.”

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