The ICTU group of unions representing health workers presented its claim, in respect of Long Covid, at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) yesterday (1st June).
The unions are seeking an immediate extension to the temporary scheme, introduced in June 2022, which is due to expire on the 30th of June 2023.
The unions made the request in order to provide assurance to health workers currently on the temporary scheme, and to allow negotiations - in relation to the broader related issues on Long Covid - to be progressed under the auspices of the WRC.
The Department of Health at the Conciliation Conference confirmed it is engaging with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on an extension to the temporary scheme.
The group of unions regard this matter as extremely urgent. Health workers currently availing of the temporary scheme, due to ongoing health difficulties because of Covid infection should not be left in a position of uncertainty, as has happened previously.
The group is seeking a broader claim for the introduction of an Injury at Work Scheme. Covid is recognised as an occupational disease, and the HSE therefore has a duty of care to provide an appropriate scheme for its employees who have been exposed to this workplace hazard, and who continue to experience symptoms.
At the request of the WRC the parties are to reconvene on Monday the 19th of June 2023 to progress these matters.
The Department of Health has also confirmed that the Department of Social Protection is conducting an investigation into Covid as an Occupational Injuries Scheme. This is due to report to a select committee of the Oireachtas shortly.
Contact Siobhán, INMO Head of Communications 087-7987948
Note to Editors:
The National Joint Council of HSE Staff Trade Unions comprises of ICTU affiliated members, Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (Chair of the Group), SIPTU, FÓRSA, Irish Medical Organisation, Medical Laboratory Scientists Association, CONNECT Trade Union, Voluntary Hospitals Craft Group, UNITE