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Government and HSE are reluctant to compensate health workers for their extra stress during Pandemic

DUBLIN: The government and the HSE are reluctant to compensate health workers for their additional stress during the COVID pandemic. The allegation that both sides have taken a slow approach in this regard is very strong.

Health service trade unions have approached the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) seeking recognition and compensation for the services of health workers during the Pandemic.

Last November, trade unions submitted a petition to the government and the HSE on this matter. The two sides discussed the issue several times. But the government is unwilling to do anything more than praise health workers.

The INMO and the broader group of trade unions of health workers filed two separate claims. The INMO demanded an additional 10 days of annual leave as compensation. Even though there has been no substantial progress in negotiations, the government and the HSE have asked not to go to the Workplace Relations Commission. The service organizations are scheduled to meet next Tuesday to discuss further action in this regard.

The HSE has revealed that it intends to recognise the role of various health workers during the pandemic. The Health Service Executive added that discussions are in progress with various trade unions.

The trade union chairman said talks are underway

Tony Fitzpatrick, chairman of the group of unions in the health sector, said the issue is being discussed. The chairman said the government and HSE were convinced of the services of health workers but the problem was the lack of clarity on how to compensate for it.

The broader group of trade unions representing all grades of staff across the health system has lodged a separate claim for “special recognition” of healthcare workers. The issue was not resolved during the discussions between the HSE, the health department and the unions on Friday. However, the unions said the HSE had asked them not to approach the WRC with claims.

INMO’s stance

The INMO stated at an Oireachtas committee hearing in February that health workers in Northern Ireland and Scotland would receive a £500 bonus for their efforts so far in combating the Pandemic. Those in France will receive €1,500.

Healthcare workers have been working in very difficult conditions throughout 2020. The group also said that over 11,500 healthcare workers had been infected with COVID-19 by the end of November.

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