‘Are we invisible?’ Union action planned for hospital cleaning staff
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‘Are we invisible?’ Union action planned for hospital cleaning staff

Credit: Belga

External cleaning staff are not entitled to a €985 bonus announced in December for hospital staff, and unions are denouncing the situation and demanding fair treatment for all hospital workers.

In order to drum up support for the cleaning staff, banners were hung in various institutions bearing the slogan “Are we invisible?” the CSC and the FGTB said in a statement on Monday.

The unions have been trying for several months to get recognition for the work of the people responsible for hygiene and the disinfection of rooms as part of the fight against coronavirus. Hospital staff received an incentive payment of €985 gross, but hospital cleaners who are employed by an external cleaning company were not included.

“It is unacceptable for politicians to turn a deaf ear to the demands of outsourced cleaners that they too should receive this bonus,” said Gaétan Stas of the CSC, quoted in the statement. “This is illegal and totally unfair discrimination.”

“Denying this bonus to these workers is tantamount to denying their existence,” said Koenraad Maertens of the FGTB.

“It means pretending that they are invisible and therefore useless. Yet they are essential. Without cleaners, whether they are employed directly by the hospital or by an external company, no hospital could function.”

The banners were hung at the Saint Michel and Erasme hospitals in Brussels and at Saint-Luc in Bouge. Patients and hospital staff will be made aware and informed of the issue facing cleaning staff.

This is only the first phase of actions planned by the unions.

“If the cleaners are still not listened to, other actions will follow,” said the CSC and the FGTB.

The Brussels Times