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France: Let's talk about staffing again

24 March 2019
Paramedics and healthcare staff
French union CFDT Santé Sociaux (health and social services) decided to continue with the survey on staffing for paramedics and healthcare staff it initiated in 2017. General Secretary Eve Rescanières explains that this annual barometer is part of the roadmap that the federation has set itself in terms of investment in European bodies and international trade union involvement.

By Ève Rescanières

The initiative is connected to CFDT’s work with the European Federation of Public Service Union (EPSU). In Brussels, a question of concern to the various European unions in the health and social sector is; should we advocate for minimum staffing level legislation?

We think that the important thing is not to provide a ready-made and definitive answer, but to ask the right questions, and to ask the main stakeholders.

Thus, our questionnaire, which employees had access to between 25 June and 1 July 2018, is the same as in 2017. And as in September 2017, the respondents spoke of conflicts of workplace values that go against their professional ethics. Dissatisfaction with poorly done work is the predominant factor.

As in September 2017, employee testimonials add a personal touch to the statistics, diagrams and percentages, which are certainly essential to build a database to present an opposing motion to the employers, but not sufficient on their own.

“What is important is not the number of patients, but the needs of each patient” is the response of employees when asked for their opinion on good practice.

To be able to act and have influence in European dialogue, CFDT Santé Sociaux thinks it is vital to reconnect with the workplace.

Slowly but surely, our method is proving effective. On issues as diverse as activity and skills benchmark and the competence of care assistants, or the setting up of territorial social dialogue conferences, our main concern is those who do, not those who give the orders to do. And sometimes, management ends up adopting what we have built with the employees.

It is with this mindset that we wanted to give space to non-academic feedback to build our investigation.

Once upon a time there was the aging of the European population.

Once upon a time, there was budgetary discipline with its share of deregulation, flexibility and precariousness for employees.

Once upon a time, there was a network of European health and social services unions, pioneers of social justice.

And in this network, once upon a time, the CFDT Santé Sociaux was and still is eager to contribute to building a social Europe which guarantees high protection for workers in the health, social and medico-social sector.

To do this, we are giving you an appointment in September 2019 to continue to refine our vision of the working conditions of healthcare professionals and paramedics through the prism of the workforce.

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