Nursing trainees in Berlin's state hospitals ready to strike?

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Thu 12th Aug, 2021

In the collective bargaining conflict at Berlin's state-owned hospitals, the trade union is taking political action - according to Verdi, nursing trainees in particular are suffering from staff shortages and high work stress. This is shown by a non-representative survey of 300 nursing trainees in the Vivantes clinics and at the Charité, which Verdi presented on Wednesday.

According to the survey, two-thirds said that the situation on the wards interfered with their private lives and family planning; half of the respondents could hardly imagine practicing the profession under "current working conditions in the long term". Prospective nurses reported that they had not received adequate "guidance" and had been used as "gap fillers" in understaffed wards. Almost every second trainee in the Verdi survey stated that he or she "often or always" performed tasks on patients for which he or she had not yet been trained.

Ten percent more nursing staff?

"In order to prevent the shortage of skilled workers from worsening, better working and training conditions are urgently needed," said Verdi negotiator Meike Jäger. The union is demanding a "relief collective agreement" from Vivantes and Charité, which should require up to ten percent more staff. At the university hospital, Verdi broke off negotiations a few days ago, Vivantes has not yet entered into talks. The demanded wage agreement is to include a fixed, enforceable compensation for the burden. The Charité, on the other hand, had offered a "softer" form under labor law, namely a service agreement.

As reported, Verdi had set a 100-day ultimatum in May: If the union and the state hospitals did not agree on such a relief collective agreement by Aug. 20, the nursing staff would go on strike. According to Verdi, many trainees would take part in industrial action.

Charité University Medicine and Vivantes Clinics are Berlin Election Issues

The staff shortage is one of the negotiation issues, the others are the wages of the subsidiaries. While the main Vivantes hospitals and the university hospital are paid according to the collective agreement of the public service (TVÖD), employees in the joint subsidiary "Labor Berlin" and the Vivantes cleaning staff receive significantly lower wages. The state-owned Vivantes group is also under enormous financial pressure because of the Corona crisis.

The situation in the state hospitals is increasingly playing a role in the election campaign. From SPD circles, it was said on Wednesday that they are working to mediate between the hospital boards and Verdi - the university medicine is under Senate leader and Social Democrat Michael Müller.

The coalition parties SPDleft and Greens assured only on Tuesday the "hospital movement" developed around Verdi their solidarity. Around the fundamental attitude of the Greens to the medicine metropolis, as it senate leader Mueller advanced, there was thereby briefly controversy. Also, CDU and FDP politicians called the tariff goals meaningful.

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