[Austria] POLITICAL DISCRIMINATION AT THE RED CROSS

October 24, 2020, WAS-AIT, https://wiensyndikat.wordpress.com/

The winter package and the summer package…

Vienna is not just the romantic city of balls and waltzes. It is also a city with more than 10,000 poor and homeless people. Winter is harsh and freezing in the Austrian capital. To prevent the homeless from freezing to death, and to prevent them from being seen in the subways or elsewhere in public, which is not good for the city’s touristic image, the Vienna Homeless Aid of the municipality of Vienna (Wiener Wohnungslosenhilfe) organizes each winter the campaign « winter package » (Winterpaket). 1,200 additional places are open for the winter season in homeless shelters.

This campaign is managed by various charities, including the Red Cross. The Red Cross is renowned for being deeply conservative, but it is even worse in Austria since it acts as a satellite organization of the ÖVP, the conservative party of Chancellor Kurz. The government now delegates to Red Cross some activities that were strictly governmental until then, as for example the administration of the civil service or the realization and the distribution of the telephone application « Stop Corona App ». The Red Cross is therefore fully integrated into the State.

Each fall, the Red Cross hires seasonal social workers for the period of the « winter package » campaign. Their employment contract ends in the spring, then they are rehired the following fall. But during the summer, homeless do not disappear … So, a small group of seasonal social workers, from various Vienna Homeless Aids’ institutions, created a few years ago the “Initiative Sommerpaket” (Initiative summer package). This grassroots collective of workers publicly highlights the gaps in homeless care and also campaigns for better working conditions for social working with homeless people. In particular, they are fighting to be hired for a full year, so that their contracts do not end during the summer, and that accommodation for homeless people is thus available all year round, including summer.

Refusal of employment for political reasons

In early September 2020, some of these seasonal workers understood that they would not be rehired by the Red Cross unlike in previous years. While some seasonal workers had received at least 4 phone calls from the Red Cross begging them to come and work for the winter campaign, the phones of 7 colleagues from the former « NQ Apollogasse » homeless shelter remained desperately silent.

Some of these colleagues are politically active in their free time, they campaign with the Sommerpaket Initiative for the improvement of the service of the Viennese homeless. Others of the not rehired colleagues have been on pickets of the Initiative Sommerpaket. Obviously this bothers the Red Cross. In order to get rid of the disturbers, they therefore chose not to rehire them, giving the following reason: « Due to incidents and events not known in detail to the management of the homeless shelter, your application was rejected by the management of the red cross”

On enquiry, they have been informed that at least 7 employees were on an internal blacklist because they were involved, according to them, in the « Sommerpaket » initiative, as well as having denounced the poor health safety standards implemented by the Red Cross in their institution at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the workers involved declared: “In fact, we just wanted to contribute constructively in this difficult and new situation for all of us. I am really shocked by this response from the Red Cross”. It is indeed ironic that the Red Cross sanctions people for their commitment to greater security in the management of the Covid 19 pandemic! This is clearly a situation of discrimination in hiring for political reasons, and this despite the fact that the « Sommerpaket » initiative had never acted directly against the Red Cross!

For many, working during the winter campaign means a fixed source of income that has now been quickly denied to some long-time employees. “It was confirmed to us that there was no lack of performance at work on our part. We even received a certificate of impeccable service. It was a political decision. And that is why we are now responding with political means!” announced one of the former employees concerned.

For the companions of the WAS, this repressive measure is a deliberate attack on all attempts to organize collective resistance. In this atmosphere of intimidation, anyone who publicly advocates publicly and loudly for a social change could face serious consequences. This is why the WAS responded favourably to the request for solidarity addressed by the Sommerpaket Initiative and the workers affected by this employers’ lockout. They therefore organized together, with another « Social but not stupid » initiative, a rally in front of the Vienna headquarters of the Red Cross on October 28, 2020 at 7:30 a.m., the start of the winter campaign this year.

If they hit one of us, they hit us all! Report of the rally at the Red Cross headquarters in Vienna

October 28, 2020, WAS-AIT

Motivated and punctual, at 7:30 am, we met in front of the headquarters of the Vienna Red Cross. The comrades that the Red Cross did not rehire were present, as well as many acquaintances who expressed their solidarity in their support, many of them from the social sector, or about 70 people in total. The rally was organized by the “Sommerpaket” initiative and WAS-AIT. The initiative “Social but not stupid” and KOMintern, a communist union initiative, appealed also for this rally. The Gewerkschaftlicher Linksblock, a socialist fraction in the system did not miss the opportunity to join this left bloc.

With banners, brochures and flags, we protested the decision of the Vienna Red Cross not to re-engage our colleagues who had previously worked in the Winterpaket campaigns. This group of colleagues who worked for this campaign to help the homeless during the winter was not rehired, as apparently the commitment to better conditions for users and better working conditions for workers did not does not meet the objectives of the Red Cross.

Immediately, a “friendly and smiling” delegation of three prominent Red Cross figures came out of their offices and approached the rally intending to speak, visibly in awe of what was going on. « Hello, I’m the manager, who can we talk to? » To which no one in the crowd responded. The official was accompanied by the Red Cross press officer and a secretary. Colleagues from the Summer Package Initiative told them that they would not speak to them until the rally was over, after which they told the press officer that they wanted an explanation for the refusal to rehire them.

During the rally, several speeches were made to inform participants, Red Cross headquarters workers and passers-by, of the Red Cross shenanigans and the need to organize against these structures that are monopolizing the sector of social services. We chalked up on the sidewalks our indignation against the Vienna Red Cross and those who run it. These messages were deleted as soon as the concentration ended, a clear response from the Red Cross, which shows its unease at our criticism.

It is now up to the Red Cross officials to find a solution if they want to stop our protest actions. The precariousness of working conditions in the social services sector is obvious; something with which all the comrades of the gathering agreed, as well as with the fact that only with union and solidarity can we face it.

Further action is planned if the Red Cross does not respond favourably to our requests.

[Bulgaria/Austria] Solidarity with the struggle of Bulgarian nurses

12 October 2020, WAS-AIT, Vienna, https://wiensyndikat.wordpress.com

The Vienna Workers’ Union (WSA-AIT) joins the appeal of the Austria-Bulgaria Workers International Aid (Internationalen Arbeiterhilfe Österreich-Bulgarien) for a rally in solidarity with Bulgarian healthcare workers. We are in friendly contact in Bulgaria with the companions of the ARK base union, in which some nurses are organized, and we support their fight against dismissals and repression.

Long live international solidarity!

Call for demonstration in front of the Bulgarian Embassy: Friday, October 16, 2020, 5 p.m.

Solidarity with the Union of Bulgarian Nurses (SBMS)!

Immediate reinstatement of dismissed colleagues!

For more than a year, the Bulgarian Independent Nurses Union (SBMS) has been fighting with the grassroots union ARK against the deteriorating conditions of the health system. Privatization, corruption and austerity measures are part of a policy that sells the health of the people to the interests of the few. There is a shortage of over 30,000 nurses in Bulgaria. Each nurse does the work of three people, while she receives a salary of just over 400 Bulgarian Leva, or 200 Euros. 80% of working nurses are already retired, they are overworked and often sicker and more broken than their patients.

Today nurses have become known to the public, before our struggle, they did not exist, only doctors were considered. The nurses continued to be pushed down. But now they have a voice, now they have risen.” (a member of SBMS)

The response to the concerns and struggle of Bulgarian nurses has become so great in recent months that not only has the Minister of Health had to resign, but improvements have also been made. But precisely because the support of the population is so strong, the government and the entrepreneurs are now trying to intimidate and silence the militant nurses with repressive means. Not only the most active nurses in the movement are arrested during protests, they are also harassed and fired, as was recently the case with Boyka Anastasova, one of the most active members of the SBMS

In Austria, too, we see how the healthcare system is continually being cut and dismantled. Here too, hundreds of nurses took to the streets last year to fight for better working conditions. And right now, in the middle of the corona pandemic, attempts are being made to push through further austerity measures. By now it is becoming clear how justified and necessary the struggle of nurses is – in Bulgaria and Austria.

Immediate reinstatement of dismissed SBMS colleagues!

Solidarity with the fight of the Union of Bulgarian Nurses!

For a health system at the service of the people!

International worker aid – Bulgaria / Austria

With the support of: Antifascist Action, Vienna Workers’ Union (WAS-AIT)


[Bulgaria/Austria] SARS-CoV-2 Aid delivery has arrived in Bulgaria!

August 17, 2020, WSA-AIT, https://wiensyndikat.wordpress.com

In June of this year, the Vienna Workers ‘Union (WAS-AIT) supported the Austria-Bulgaria International Workers’ Aid with donations of equipment and products.

This campaign was launched by the Bulgarian grassroots union ARK to help staff in Bulgarian hospitals who are seriously suffering from lack of protective masks, disinfectants, etc. We are happy to announce that the relief delivery packages have arrived in Bulgaria and hope that these donations will be of great help to Bulgarian colleagues!

Below we document the full article from Workers’ International Aid:

Great success of Austria Bulgaria International Workers’ Aid!

The Austria-Bulgaria International Workers’ Assistance initiative launched in June has been a great success and an important sign of international solidarity. Our Bulgarian colleagues welcomed the aid packages as an important support and a strong symbol of the common cause of the workers!

For the first time in many decades, an initiative like this has been organized in Austria by independent and activist trade union initiatives and colleagues from different sectors. The exemplary and determined struggle of the Bulgarian nurses found a broad solidarity among the colleagues. Protective equipment and disinfectant material were collected vigorously to support their justified fight.

International worker aid not only found wide support among Austrian workers, but it was also warmly welcomed in Bulgaria as a strong sign of international solidarity. Colleagues of the Bulgarian Nurses’ Union (SBMS) and the “Autonomous Association of Workers” (ARK) union received the aid with great joy! In a broadcast on social networks, the ARK writes: “Solidarity during a crisis and in the workers’ struggle is the most important thing for the success of this struggle. Collectives of self-employed workers in Austria have taken the initiative to support medical personnel in Bulgaria. They campaigned for solidarity and collected a large amount of protective equipment and disinfectants to help their Bulgarian colleagues. This donation shows that not only political leaders can unite against workers, but also how we ourselves can break down national barriers and help each other. With great gratitude to the Austrian colleagues and may this example illuminate all of Europe and the whole world for common work and the unification of workers for a new and just world.”

Many Bulgarian colleagues, particularly from rural areas where the material collected is particularly urgently needed, welcomed this action and thanked them for this strong and exemplary sign of international solidarity.

The Austria6bulgaria International Workers Assistance Initiative is the right response to the pandemic and to the capitalist-imperialist policy of plundering and shifting the burden of the crisis onto the working class and the people!

This initiative is a living expression of internationalism and the necessary cohesion of workers. We are very happy to have made an important contribution to the development of international solidarity with this initiative and we would like to thank all those who so actively support Austria-Bulgaria Workers’ International Aid! This success also shows us how necessary and urgent it is to pursue this initiative even more intensely!

Long live the international solidarity of workers! Long live the just cause of the ARK and the SBMS!

ANOTHER FUTURE FOR THE PUBLIC HEALTH

“LET’S GO”[1] TOWARD TOTAL PRIVATISATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH

September 2020, CNT-AIT France, info sheet of CNT-AIT health branch workers

The Covid crisis has highlighted the dilapidated state of our public health system in France, and particularly in hospitals. This is no coincidence: it is a deliberate policy, followed for decades by all governments, without exception, no matter they were right or left wing. All of them have closed tens of thousands of hospital beds, President Macron only continued the dismantling policies implemented before him by Hollande, Sarkozy Chirac and even Mitterrand. Their goal is to put an end to the French health system, which certainly has flaws but above all has the great advantage of being universal and based on solidarity. Under the pretext of « Social Security deficit », it is a rampant privatization that the politicians are preparing, for the greater benefit of the private insurers.

The financiers hope to take advantage of the Covid crisis to give the final kick that will collapse the public health system in France. Their campaign to influence public opinion is in full swing. This summer, they paid a full page in the number one mainstream newspaper, Le Monde, to promote the health privatization scheme. On TV sets, pseudo experts follow one another to spread their venom in favour of the “liberalization” of public health…

But there is one country that has already implemented the privatization they dream of: Spain. Today, Spain is the country in Europe where the Covid situation is most catastrophic, with thousands of people who died at home or in seniors’ residences for lack of space in hospitals. Public health systems and caregivers are on the verge of collapse, for lack of resources, beds, and staff workers. We reproduce after a text from our companions of the CNT-AIT health union in Barcelona, who explain the nightmare of the situation of the Spanish health system.

In Spain, hospital staff trusted the traditional unions to try to slow down this fatal development. They voted for them in the union elections, they listened to union officials telling them to be reasonable, to just walk from one day of action to another day of action 6 month later, without mixing their struggle with that of other industries. Healthcare workers have been spectators at all round tables, rounds of negotiations and other “bailout deals”, leaving union officials to speak for them. In short, the legitimate revolt of the staff was numbed by the institutionalised Unions with fine words and short-lived electoral promises. This is what is likely to happen to us in France also…

The hospital staff of Paris hospitals (AP-HP,) who have not counted their hours, can no longer stand it! We are not superheroes nor sacrificed soldiers! In addition to the looming burnout, some services have been severely affected by the Covid, department heads have also resigned. THESE FACTS ARE SERIOUS. WHY THIS COMPLICE SILENCE FROM TRADE UNIONS?

It is time for that to change! Let’s go for General Assemblies of Struggles!


[France] THE « SEGUR » AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE STATE AND THE TRADE UNIONS: INDIGNITY, IMPOSTURE AND TREASON

16 June 2020, CNT-AIT France, leaflet

Health workers have not been increased in salary for 10 years in France. The dissatisfaction of these workers was already great before the Covid crisis. After the first wave of Covid, the government felt that discontent could turn into anger, especially since the population stood in solidarity with health workers. To avoid a social explosion, the government cleared the situation with the help of the Unions, by pretending to negotiate a wage increase agreement with them. The Unions – even the so called “struggle unions” like CGT or SUD – prevented any self-organization of the workers, they made sure that no grassroots initiative took place, they confiscated the workers’ voice. The final agreement – known as “the Segur agreement”, provides for an increase of 183 euros per month that is to say exactly the amount of 10 years of inflation for an average salary. But it is not given immediately: half will be given 3 months after the agreement signature, the other half 6 months later. In addition, not all employees will receive this increase of salary. But above all, the agreement provides that the closures of public hospitals will continue, and so under the pretext of « better organization of the hospital system » privatization can continue…

The Ségur agreement was therefore signed. An increase of € 183 per month for all, after 10 years of wage freezes … Remember that since 2010 cumulative inflation has been + 11.64% (source INSEE). Example for a NET salary of around 1,500 Euros in 2010, he would have to earn NET 1,674 Euros today to have the same purchasing power. This means that with 183 euro the real increase is … 9 EUROS! IT DESERVES APPLAUSE! In addition, the 183 € announced you will not see them right away, but only partially from JANUARY then MARCH 2021, whereas Véran had promised that the increase would be effective from July 1st 2020!!!

At this level, this agreement is above all an INSULT TO OUR DIGNITY!

CFDT, UNSA and FO are the accomplices of this “middle finger” to health workers. But that “middle finger” will not be criticized by the mainstream medias, unlike that of Nurse Farida [who has been arrested by the police during demo and accusing of assault against policemen which is false]…. CFDT, UNSA, not surprisingly; we know they lie in front of managers, even when those don’t ask them to do so. But let us dwell on the case of FO, which is more demanding. FO dares to declare in its leaflet “Negotiations VICTORY”. Fortunately for FO, ridicule does not kill … Let’s see what victory it is:

A victory for wages? Not really …

We have already seen that the revaluation will not even be enough to make up for the freeze on wages since 10 years. In addition, why wait until 2021 to implement the revaluation? The state did not wait to release 3 billion directly to Air France. Is health less important than airplanes? It seems the State is waving that carrot under the noses of health workers in order to assure that they would continue to sacrifice themselves in case a second wave should happen in the fall.

Moreover, this revaluation is not clear and sharp. The agreement does not provide for an increase in the index point or in the salary but an « additional index salary up to (sic) 49 points representing 183 euros net per month« . Basically it’s like a bonus: a supplement can be cancelled overnight, without notice, because it is not permanently integrated into the salary. With the looming crisis, we might as well say that this revaluation is likely to fizzle out… And what means “up to” ? Does it mean it will be a maximum that can be reached, but without guarantee? Because the spirit of this text is to leave the negotiations on indemnities and bonuses to the local management. The Agreement will be implemented on the basis of local agreements signed with local trade unions. Management’s ass lickers, the future is smiling to you!

Finally, this “agreement” provides for “simplifying” the payslips by merging all the allowances: “The parties to this agreement agree that a renovation of the allowance system for public hospital staff will be undertaken [on] the following principle: the new compensation plan is intended to merge all the existing compensation plans.” Concretely, this means that in the long term the compensation supplement of 183 euros would absorb all the current indemnities, such as for example the hardship allowance for a Class 3 caregiver, which is 165 euros per month and who had was acquired by a fight in 1991. A great victory for SÉGUR indeed to suppress the victories of our previous struggles!

A victory for working conditions and the organization of services? Not really …

The agreement text also provides that the Unions agree to the implementation of the “management of jobs and skills scheme”, with self-managed schedules by the caregivers themselves. But the text says nothing – or little – about the material resources necessary to exercise our functions under DIGNABLE conditions. On the contrary, the text even provides for continued bed closures by « developing scheduled and outpatient hospitalizations »! (cf. Bichat Beaujon hospital 35% fewer beds…) In the absence of additional and massive material resources, in the absence of new beds, in the absence of new firm and massive staff hires, it will be above all self-management of poverty and of our own alienation. Let us remember what happened last summer: while the staff demanded MEANS in the middle of a heat wave (air conditioners, ventilators in good working order, refrigerated care stations, etc.), FO Cochin claimed a BONUS for this Heat wave. However, bonuses do not prevent the deterioration of working conditions.

The text also opens the Pandora’s box of calling into question the « 35 hours » (even if we know that it was never the real “35 hours working per week”): « It will be proceeded after consultation, to regulatory changes, in particular Decree No. 2002-9 of January 4, 2002 relating to the organization and reduction of working time in the public hospital service, in order to implement the provisions aimed at improving the organization of work without calling into question the framework legal. »

The reminder of the legal framework should not be misled: the legal framework is not the “35-hours week » but « the annualization of working time » – provided for in the so-called “35-hour’s law”. With the SÉGUR agreement, « within the framework of local agreements« , the Management will be able to change your time schedule, your holidays plan, to plan 12 hours shift everywhere « on a voluntary basis » … and my ass on the dresser … Look what happened in the respiratory medicine unit in the name of COVID, they all had been forced to switch to 12 hours shifts without any Union organization saying anything against it… It must be said that Union officials were exempt from « volunteering » (imposed de facto): 12 hours is good, but for workers, not for their « Union representatives »…

It is necessary to underline the ruse introduced by this agreement: under the guise of organizational autonomy: as the questioning of the mode of organization of the work being done at the local level, structure by structure, each one that would possibly engage in struggle will do it in an isolated manner, but without being a generalized movement. This is the good old « divide and conquer » strategy. We know that the struggle in an isolated structure will have less weight, and therefore less chance of success, than a general strike of the entire hospital sector. However, popular support for hospitals following the COVID crisis put us in a favourable balance of power vis-à-vis the State and the hospital management. But the Unions didn’t take advantage of this massive support and instead, by agreeing to participate in the negotiations, the Unions have disarmed us and sabotaged our favourable balance of power.

In the end, the only victorious are the unionists who “shepherd” our anger…

What is truly incredible is that trade unionists signed this text which is a surrender in open field even before having started any struggle!!! But in fact, this text fits totally with their conception of unionism, a unionism of service, of support, of consultation and discussion, which provides unionists with advantages (permanent union staff paid by State and company, material advantages like offices, subsidies, etc.) in exchange for their docility. (see the article in Le Canard Enchaîné this week which confirms our analysis)

That SUD or the CGT did not sign the agreement should not fool us: they do not need to sign, since the others Unions do it for them. This allows them to play the role of the rebels, but basically they don’t act that much differently from other unions. (By the way, did these so-called “fighting unions” call for struggling assemblies while they were negotiating? No! It shows although neither of them really wanted to engage in fighting with the State). And above all, they do not spit on the advantages that their status as a “representative union” confers on them. If they were really “fighting unions”, they would refuse the advantages granted by the State, so as to be truly free and independent.

This agreement is an INSULT against our dignity.

The objective of the agreement is not to increase the salaries of health workers, but to make us work even more, in material conditions which will always be as degraded, with the unions in the role of wardens. Unions will ensure that the agreements they have « negotiated » is well implemented by health workers. And the unions will obtain concreate benefits from this class Collaboration, under the form of subsidies. Under the guise of managerial autonomy, the agreement will in fact mainly serve to increase the pressure on staff, by forcing them to self-manage their own misery.

Macron told us at the start of the epidemic, “Health is priceless. The government is mobilizing all the necessary financial means, whatever the cost. «This Ségur agreement shows that once again, MACRON LIES: ultimately the accounting logic prevails over health considerations …

Today we are at the time of choices. Not to denounce this agreement is to be complicit. If there are any sincere Unionists left in FO or elsewhere, if they don’t tear up their cards, they are covering up this betrayal. This pseudo-deal is a coup directed against us, those who sacrificed themselves without counting during the crisis. Capitalism carries with it war and misery, and does not care about our health or our living conditions. Only a social revolution will make it possible to put an end to the widespread exploitation of both the planet and humans.

But until then let’s reclaim:

– The immediate withdrawal of this humbug of the Ségur agreement;

– Respect by Macron of his word « health before the economy, whatever the cost » and a single salary for all caregivers, on the basis of the salary of a Regional Hospital Manager (after all, we do not have less demerit than them during the COVID crisis);

– Massive creation of additional beds;

– Massive hiring of at least 300,000 staff in the hospital sector and nursing homes.

To defend our interests, let us not expect anything from the official Unions. Let us organize ourselves, refusal of representation, for direct action, let us create our assemblies of struggle, to free speech and initiatives and bring our demands to fruition.

For a real union activism without union discharges, against permanent union staff for life!

For a universal, socialized, united health system.

Long live the social Revolution!

Some anarchosyndicalist Hospital workers


[1] « Let’s go », « En marche » in French, is the name of the President Macron’s political party.

[Germany] Protest march against health care crisis in Cologne

September 06, 2020, ASN, https://asnkoeln.blackblogs.org

The “Cologne Alliance for More Personnel in Health Service” (Kölner Bündnis für mehr Personal im Gesundheitswesen, http://gesundheitsbuendnisse-nrw.de/buendnisse/koeln/) organized a protest demonstration with hundreds of participants on Saturday September 5, 2020.

Following an assembly nearby the Cathedral, the demonstration crossed St. Cunibert district headed for the “German Economic Institute”. Speeches were also given in front of the nearby residential care and nursing home St. Vincenz-Haus, against the dramatic working and living conditions (not just since the corona pandemic) in the market-driven and patriarchal healthcare system.

Many Practical and Geriatric Nurses (of different genders), as well as other occupational groups, but also solidarity-based health initiatives and concerned patients, took part in the protest which ended in a park nearby Theodor-Heuss-Ring. The motto of the demonstration was: “Take the applause to the streets! Care rebellion now!” [https://gesundheitsbuendnisse-nrw.de/aktuelles/pflegeaufstand-jetzt/]. While only the first part of that has been carried out, maybe this event could be the beginning of further, urgently needed protests in an industry, which is vitally important for society.

High-sounding election promises or shabby pay-offs can neither appease the angry colleagues, nor can the precarious conditions of inpatient, outpatient or private care be improved by this.

As the call for demonstration stated:

The coronavirus has the world and our daily life under control. This danger to life is systematic! The virus spreads wider and more people get sick, because they have to work, produce and live under dangerous conditions in retirement homes (e.g. in a private geriatric residence in Cologne-Rodenkirchen, see our report [https://anarchosyndikalismus.blackblogs.org/2020/05/01/koeln-protestaktionen-am-ersten-mai/]), in refugees shelters (e.g.as in a migrants accommodation in Cologne-Porz), in factories (such as the meat packer Tönnies) or in cramped tenement houses.

Everyday life is the problem! Covid-19 intensifies it!

A lot has been said about the global coronavirus epidemic: about the healthcare system and how important not only the medical staff is, but the nurses as well. There was applause for them and politicians from all parties praised them in talk shows. However, words alone do not help against blatant staff shortage, lack of protective equipment, privatization of nursing and care for sick and elderly persons, and shallow words do not rise low wages. Be it nursing assistants in inpatient care, geriatric nurses in outpatient care, hospital cleaners or nurses on shift work – not one of them received a single penny from the applause. Let alone that none of the overtime exhausted colleagues have been relieved from permanent filling in or from stressful nursing management and company bosses (…).

In health care, there is cost pressure, stagnation in investments or restructuring, inadequate equipment, horrific staff shortages, poor pay, unbelievable stress and time pressure for nurses, resulting in ethically questionable treatment of patients! We want to change this and we have to! Everyone is talking about a return to normality, but we cannot just go back to a previously bad situation. We have to make a change! Public health needs to be planned wisely and reasonable, right now. And it shall not be based on mere economic profitability. Health care needs supply facilities close to homes, based on people’s needs, with sufficient staffing and good working conditions, time for patients and relaxation. These tasks belong to the public sector and are to be socialized in the long run!”

However, there is no need to rely on State governance, as the state has been pushing for privatization of health facilities for decades, thereby denying full medical service for migrants without residence permit. There is an urgent need for a fundamental change in solidarity. Not only in health industry, but also in a wide field of care work (still predominantly female) concerning households, families, friends and neighbourhoods. And we need self-organized workplaces where social tasks are created collectively – beyond the capitalist logic of profit, overcoming heteronomy and exploitation.

Anarcho-Syndicalist Network Cologne (ASN Köln)

[Spain] AT THE « L’ARBOC » NURSING HOME, THE MANAGEMENT REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE THE CNT-AIT SECTION

23 August 2020, CNT-AIT, Catalunya, https://www.nodo50.org/cntcatalunya

The union section of the CNT-AIT in the « L’Arboç » retirement home is in conflict with the management, because the latter refuses to recognize the CNT-AIT section. The management tried to buy off our activists by offering them to participate in the union elections on a list put together by the management. The CNT-AIT refused, because by principle it does not take part in the union elections. Spanish law allows union sections to act in the company, even if they do not participate in union elections. But the management of the company refuses to discuss with the union section. Below is a letter to management reminding them of the right to organize and offering them a trade union rights’ course, at a fair and friendly price.

From the union section of the CNT-AIT of the “L’Arborç” retirement home

To the Direction of this company,

Barcelona, August 05, 2020

This union section is sending you this letter again following your letter dated July 25, sent to the compañera Mrs. Gillermina G. as a colleague who represents us among the workers. We provide the following details:

In connection with your aforementioned letter, given the way the company’s Direction expressed itself in the said courier, we deduce that it would be useful for you to seek advice from the law firm that you mention before sending us a new letter, because we think you are confusing Union Elections with Union Sections. For your convenience, we inform you that the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT-AIT) organizes training courses in trade union rights in case you are interested; for companies, these courses are paying, but for you we are sure that we will agree to give you a fair and friendly price. Otherwise find out in the Spanish Official Bulletin among other things about the provisions that regulate the activity of Unions.

As on other occasions, we renew our request to hold a meeting with the management to discuss the issues and rights that concern us as workers of this Residence and that you do not respect, and for which you have always responded with silence. We point out that the workers were up to the task during the coronavirus pandemic situation, as the manager Mrs. Ana Morales can confirm. We express our disappointment at the zero presence in this entire health emergency situation of the manager Mr. Miguel Sánchez, whom we did not see at the Residence, while he communicated to the relatives of the residents that they were going well and even played dominoes. Thank you Mr. Miguel Sánchez for your example.

We inform you that Mrs. Isabel M., due to the excess of monthly hours, will take the Wednesdays of her long week, to compensate the hours, according the Branch Agreement.

We also inform you that Mrs. Yovanna M. will take the Fridays of her short week for the same reasons as Mrs. Isabel.

With all that is indicated in this letter and in what was mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, we ask once again to meet with you and our union advisers to harmonize the differences that may exist. We are at your disposal.

Yours sincerly, this union section and its representatives.


[Spain] Against wage insecurity in retirement homes and nursing HOMES!

– Excessive working hours

– Lack of staff

– Lack of means of mobility for the seniors

– Corruption of the works council with management

– Violations of the fundamental rights of patients

– Withdrawal of the administration from its duties

ENOUGH!

Organize and fight!

CNT-AIT Albacete

[Spain] Public health privatization, the Spanish health nightmare …

August 8, 2020, CNT-AIT, Barcelona, https://www.nodo50.org/cntcatalunya

Never before has there been so much awareness in Spain of the value of public health and of the serious deficiencies it suffers as during this Covid-19 crisis.

In Spain, in 1997 the door was opened to the privatization of public health through Law 15/97 on enabling new forms of management of the National Health System (law LGS). Approved in the Congress of Deputies, this law was a before and after. This law establishes that any health centre and health partner in the Spanish State can be managed through any type of private company. Until then, the General Health Law of 1986 prevented this type of participation by private companies in the public health system … but in its article 90, it says that when the public system did not provide enough, a specific activity could be arranged with private hospitals, as a measure « In extremis ». But under the excuse of modernizing healthcare and being more efficient (sparing resources), private management was introduced. The result was a reduction in beds and health personnel and this produced an increase in waiting lists in public health and an increase in the contracting of private insurance policies.

The waiting lists were used to increase health spending, in conjunction with private clinics, which took advantage of section 90 of the Health System Act. The private sector has drawn up profitable pathology lists, indicating the procedures, tests and operations it agrees to perform and leaving the rest to the public, which are unprofitable. And for these profitable acts, the private sector collects the money intended for public health.

On the other hand, to avoid waiting lists, people who can afford it decide to take out private health insurance and thus have access to the private system. In doing so, they pay double contributions, that of Social Security and that of the private insurer. For those who cannot afford it, there are many who would have needed certain health services, but who have felt the effects of the budget cuts in their flesh. This abandonment of public health is evident now more than ever.

We have witnessed that, while public health was experiencing a scenario of total lack of resources, private health referred [Covid 19] patients to public hospitals and / or closed their centres. We have witnessed that, while public health workers worked endless shifts, private health workers were sent home through Job Retention Scheme. Due to the lack of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), many patients were not admitted in health centres, they were not admitted to hospital neither, but were forced to stay at home or in retirement homes due to lack of beds in public hospitals. We have witnessed the horror of many people dying at home or in retirement homes without being treated, while in privately run hospitals financed with public money, plants or entire centres were closed. We have witnessed how the military took part in a health issue from the beginning … We have witnessed the collapse of the public health system…

We cannot allow this. The only way to stop the dismantling of public health is to save what has been privatized and organize it into a self-managed and universal public health system.

CNT-AIT CATALUNYA