Nurses and government reach agreement on COVID-19 grievances

Nurses will not lose their allowances if sent home on quarantine leave after an agreement is reached between the MUMN and government over multiple grievances raised by the union

There are currently more than 140 healthcare workers in preventive quarantine
There are currently more than 140 healthcare workers in preventive quarantine

Nurses have reached an agreement with the government over a series of grievances fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses said.

In a notice to union members seen by MaltaToday, the MUMN said that it had reached an agreement with the Health Division in collaboration with Prime Minister Robert Abela and Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne.

The union had ordered industrial action a couple of weeks ago as the number of coronavirus cases surged. It had called for a ban on mass events but also listed a series of grievances that had been pending since March when the pandemic first struck.

The union subsequently suspended industrial action directives after a meeting of the MCESD and government's decision to introduce restrictions on mass events. Talks over the grievances linked to the work conditions continued.

As a result of the agreement, nurses will not lose their Sunday and public holiday allowances if they are sent home on quarantine leave. This measure will be backdated to 1 July.

There are currently 143 healthcare workers, mostly nurses, in preventive quarantine after coming in touch with known cases of COVID-19.

READ ALSO: 31 new coronavirus cases found overnight, three people in ITU

The agreement also allows nurses who are pregnant, suffered from cancer in the last five years, underwent a cardiac operation in the last six months or were hospitalised with a respiratory condition in the past six months, to be assigned non-clinical duties and if this is not possible be relieved from their duties.

Nurses working more than eight hours on a shift will be granted 12 hours of additional off hours as part of their vacation leave.
The agreement also extends meal allowances to Mount Carmel Hospital employees and the union is expecting that St Vincent de Paul and other homes for the elderly will follow on the same lines.

Government has also agreed to give nurses with children up to 10 years old an allowance of €400 per month to cover babysitting services if schools are shut.

The union told members that it was expecting a similar agreement to be reached in the coming days for nurses in elderly care.

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