Increasing COVID-19 cases causing anxiety amongst public sector employees – UĦM

Updated 04:19 PM

The UĦM Voice of the Workers is urging the government to again give the opportunity for public sector employees to work through teleworking whenever it is possible as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus. In a letter sent to the government’s permanent secretary, Mario Cutajar, the union stated that it is very much concerned about the increasing COVID-19 cases.

In its letter to Cutajar the union mentions how it has received numerous demands from its members to be able to work via teleworking as the sudden increase in cases is causing them anxiety at their workplace.

The UĦM Voice of the Workers insists that a risk assessment should be conducted at workplaces to safeguard the employees’ health and therefore the union is suggesting the following;

  • Social distancing should be maintained
  • Adequate ventilation
  • Cleaning on a more regular basis
  • Sanitizers and protective clothing should be provided when necessary
  • Perspex screens
  • Instructions on how documents and post are to be handled should be made available
  • 15-day quarantine should be imposed for employees who return from abroad

The UĦM Voice of the Workers also said that it is of the opinion that vulnerable people/employees such as preganant women and diabetic people amongst others should be protected especially since no vaccine is available yet against  COVID-19.

The union is protecting this category of employees through an industrial dispute registered on the 3rd of June.

The UĦM Voice of the Workers said it expects common sense to reign and for the governments to implement its requests.

“Teleworking was never removed or halted”

The Office of the Principal Permanent Secretary issued a statement saying that the Telework within the Public Service was never removed or halted.

It was also stated that during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic at the start of the year, an analysis was conducted to investigate managerial and technical work defects away from the office environment.

The office of the principal secretary said that the result has already been analysed, and work commenced so that, from the notion of telework, the Public Service shifts to remote working.

As regards to the other points raised in the UĦM letter, the permanent secretary said that instructions were always clear and modelled on the guidelines issued by the Department for Health.

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