Government uninterested in improving carers’ conditions of work
More than a month since the start of industrial action in hospitals, old people’s homes and health centres, the Government has not yet taken any steps to find a solution in the interest of the workers involved and the patients.
It was on April 1 when the General Workers Union and UĦM Voice of the Workers issued a series of directives to carers. This course of action was taken in the wake of the precedent set by Government which recently amended a collective agreement signed with another union despite being still in force. The move was intended to improve some aspects of this agreement. Consequently, carers felt that even though their collective agreement expired in 2023, they should be handed a similar opportunity to better certain aspects of their conditions of work. Hence, these two unions requested a revision of a particular allowance which had not been revised for over a decade.
Unfortunately, and this seems to have become the rule, the Government had no interest in finding a solution. This led to an escalation of the directives on April 19, but to date there has been no response.
Meanwhile, the Government is resorting to the services of carers employed with private companies in a bid to give the impression that it is business as usual. Ironically, this dispute which originated over Government’s refusal to improve the carer conditions of work, is nonetheless costing taxpayers huge sums from taxpayers’ money.
Sources told Voice of the Workers Weekly that the situation is not rosy at all. “There are cases whereby a carer is feeding seven patients, which procedure takes time, with the result that the last one is being kept waiting for long,” these sources said.
“Furthermore, Government’s refusal to seek a solution means that the COVID-19 protocols meant to ensure that workers remained in the same bubble were not be respected due to continuous shifting of carers from one workplace to another,” sources added.
In the past days, healthcare workers were showered with praise on the occasion of Workers’ Day. However, it seems carers are being ignored in the wake of the inferior treatment being reserved to them by the Government.
It also seems that Government’s only interest is to provide some sort of basic service regardless of the level of quality. Its approach is akin to dealing with disposable items whereby they are side lined once their service is no longer required. Such attitude fuels suspicion that in view of the fact the industrial action commenced on April 1, Government is treating it as if it were an April fools’ joke. Questions are also being raised on whether the dispute is being prolonged in the wake of the fact that the Government is having to resort to the services of private companies.