Netherlands

Costs of mouth caps and self-tests can no longer be afforded for people with low incomes

Together with the already extensive obligation to self-test, the new measures hit people with lower incomes hard in the wallet. The FNV union is arguing for a national scheme to compensate the costs for this group.

Depending on where you live?

Kitty Jong, Vice-President FNV: ‘For a family with two children, you can easily spend tens of euros extra per month in mouth caps and self-tests. Some families do their shopping for one or two weeks. We are already seeing that some municipalities are making free tests and mouth caps available to people with low(er) incomes. An excellent solution for the residents of that municipality. But that also means that you depend on your zip code whether or not you have to make the choice between shopping or protection. An unacceptable situation. Politicians must take responsibility.’

Free self-tests and mouth caps

A motion was passed in the House of Representatives on the costs of self-tests before Christmas, in which free self-tests are advocated for people who cannot afford this. The FNV assumes that this will now be expanded with mouth caps and will actually be arranged with immediate effect.

Worrying about pressure on employees

The cabinet still warns against more hospital admissions due to the omikron variant. In hospitals, absenteeism is sky-high and there is a structural shortage of people. Jong: ‘You would say that hospitals cherish their employees and want to keep them on board. This is in no way apparent from the collective labor agreement negotiations of the general hospitals that have stalled. Strikes threaten. It is incomprehensible that employers in hospitals are not doing everything they can to retain healthcare professionals.’

Workload

The union also expressed concerns about the increasing pressure on employees in many other sectors. The polarization in society means that the police – who also struggle with staff shortages – work under great pressure for a long time. Safety in the workplace is also a concern. The non-essential shops and other sectors are largely reopening, while the highly contagious omikron variant is still circulating. The maximization of the number of customers also causes work stress among shop staff, as does the lack of clarity as to whether they should check for face masks.

Safe workplace

Jong: ‘The fact that another first step has been taken towards opening up society will come as a relief to many. Also for us. But it is important that employers ensure a safe workplace and have their policy in order to that end.’

Costs of mouth caps and self-tests can no longer be afforded for people with low incomes
Source link Costs of mouth caps and self-tests can no longer be afforded for people with low incomes

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