Over 1,300 workers are taking part in industrial action ordered by UHM – Voice of the Workers, the union said today.
As from 8am Friday (19 February), allied health professionals, emergency ambulance responders and Steward Health Care employees are only performing duties in relation to Covid-19, emergencies and cancer patients. This industrial action is taking place due to ‘inadequate action’ by the government over agreements reached months ago, the union said. The full list of directives can be seen here.
Allied health professionals
In terms of Allied Health Professionals, in 2020, the government and UHM had signed a collective agreement which addressed a number of situations, such as various arrears that had to be paid from 2019 and also to address certain seniority issues. Although the sides agreed, the government does not want to implement what was signed in writing, the union said.
Emergency ambulance responders
The union also said that in July 2019, UHM on behalf of the Emergency ambulance responders, submitted a proposal to the government in order to create a proper framework to improve the skills of these frontliners. The government gave no attention to these proposals and this prompted industrial action on behalf of the workers.
“When the government agreed to start a talking, UHM responded by suspending the industrial action, but this was done in bad faith from the government’s side as, since the industrial action was suspended, the government has not seemed to want a discussion.”
After more than 18 months, the union said, the government is still refusing to discuss a new collective agreement despite being bound to seek social dialogue.
Steward Health Care
In January 2019, the UHM won official recognition of the Steward Health Care workers, and thus had the right to negotiate on their behalf.
The UHM requested that the employees be absorbed by the government. UHM made this demand since the Steward health care workers were conducting the same work and treating the same patients as government health care workers, but they did not have the same conditions of work.
After weeks of discussions, the government agreed in writing for the Steward health care employees to be paid as much as government health care workers as from 1st January 2019 (backdated). This process was promised to be completed by December 2020. No progress has been made, the union said.
The actions regarding the different groups mentioned above are what led the union to resort to new industrial action. As a closing statement, UHM expressed its hopes that it will not have to escalate industrial action further “in order for the 1,300 employees to get what is their by right.”