Nurses to take industrial action from Friday after unsuccessful talks with Health Minister

The nurses’ union has ordered its members to take industrial action from Friday as government resists outright ban on mass events despite spike in coronavirus cases

Nurses will take industrial action from Friday
Nurses will take industrial action from Friday

Nurses across the health sector will take industrial action from Friday after unsuccessful talks between their union and Chris Fearne.

The Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses said on Wednesday it was unsatisfied with enforcement of new rules on mass events, which have been the source of a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

It ordered all nurses in government hospitals and homes for the elderly not to wash patients, desist from transferring patients to an armchair, not to accompany patients to X-rays, theatres and outpatients. Other directives affect different sectors, including health centres.

All vulnerable healthcare workers, including pregnant women, who work in high-risk areas, have been ordered to work in non-clinical areas with no patient contact. The union said that if hospital administration does not provide a non-clinical placement, their members are to stay at home working via telework, similar to the rest of the civil service.

The union has called for an outright ban on mass events, something the government has shied away from.

Instead, new rules have been introduced to limit the capacity of mass events. The rules were laid down in a legal notice published today that also includes a €3,000 fine if organisers fail to abide by the regulations.

But the MUMN said the government has not committed itself to the proper enforcement of the rules with parties and mass events taking place with no social distancing.

“The government must still prove itself due to its failure of enforce regulations issued by Public Health in relation to mass events,” the union said.

It warned that if Malta keeps registering large amounts of new cases of COVID-19 for the next seven days, the island could be said to be passing through the second wave. “Malta risks another partial lock down,” the union warned.

READ ALSO: Doctors’ warning to Abela: stop mass events or face week of industrial action

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