Unions call for compensation for frontline workers infected by Covid-19

The SIPTU group of unions wants healthcare workers who have contracted Covid-19 in the line of their duties to be financially compensated.
Unions call for compensation for frontline workers infected by Covid-19
SIPTU's Paul Bell, at last year's health workers' strike. File pic

The SIPTU group of unions wants healthcare workers who have contracted Covid-19 in the line of their duties to be financially compensated.

Up to a third of confirmed cases of the infection involve those on the frontline, with more than 7,500 frontline workers contracting coronavirus to date, with seven of them having lost their lives.

Calls are now mounting from the medical sector for compensation for workers who have been affected, to make up for loss of workplace earnings and expenses incurred, such as counselling, with particular concerns about those who responded to the Be On Call For Ireland initiative.

SIPTU's Paul Bell says many of those workers have ended up in the private sector, instead of being part of the public response to the pandemic.

"If I'm answering 'Ireland's call' in a national emergency, my assumption is I'm going to work for the country, I'm going to work for the State, I'm not going to end up in an agency, and I'm not going to be disregarded."

Health Minister Simon Harris says he’s willing to look into the matters of compensation and assignment of Be on Call for Ireland workers further.

"I do intend to meet with SIPTU in the coming days, I think Paul makes a lot of important points, they've been good partners throughout this, so we will meet."

Harris has also said he also needs to discuss the future of the Covid-19 response with unions, as frontline workers may have to cope with the virus coming in waves for some time.

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