“Being forced to do our job badly weighs on us”, the caregivers of the geriatric services on strike this Tuesday

They can’t leave their workstations to parade, but the heart is in it. “We have an obligation to be on call… but given the number of us, there wouldn’t be many people on the street anyway.” strikes Patrick Cazalis, departmental director of the UNSa union (National Union of Autonomous Trade Unions), union at the initiative of the strike of the nursing staff of seven geriatric services depending on the Hospital Center of the Basque Coast. Specialized in the reception and care of the elderly, these health professionals are protesting, from Bayonne to Saint-Jean-de-Luz via Hasparren, against increasingly deteriorating working conditions.

A hellish pace

Normally, for hygiene care, we need 30 minutes. There, for the care, the toilet, and the dressing, we must do everything in 20! Even an able-bodied person can’t do it for themselves” revealed Naia, nurse for 18 years. “We have to make choices. It’s unfortunate, but while an elderly person must be on their feet for at least 20 minutes a day to remain somewhat independent, sometimes we don’t get up at all, for lack of time.Degradation of care due to lack of staff.Admittedly, the Ségur de la santé has allowed a revaluation, but we have only run. There is a 17% shortage of staff, care for patients is provided as best they can, and the staff are at their wits end” explains Patrick Cazalis.Everywhere, some caregivers stop because they are exhausted Naia confirms. There is a lot of burnout, because even if we are not responsible for the situation, this burden and this awareness of not doing our job properly weighs. This disappointment is heavy to bear.

One of the banners hung in Saint-Léon in Bayonne. © Radio France
Remy Doutre

silent institutions

However, the situation is far from new. To Hasparren for example, the staff of the Ehpad Larrazkena has been on strike since July 22 last. Recently, the UNSa contacted the institutions to try to be heard. “We made a report to the Bayonne prosecutor’s office, which was notified on September 5, but we have no further news. Our messages to the ARS (Regional Health Agency) remained unanswered, and on the management side, we were referred to the supervisory bodies… or the ARS for example” Advance Patrick Cazalis. “The solutions offered to us are insane, our management has offered to delegate some of our tasks to the maintenance staff! On the one hand he is not qualified, on the other hand, who will take care of the household if they start doing care?“Contacted by us, the Center Hospitalier de la Côte Basque and the ARS either did not respond or did not want to comment on the situation.

In his press release, the UNSa therefore calls for decent working conditions for a better reception of residents. With the particular objective ofto allow all agents to really benefit from one Sunday out of two, but also that all agents are guaranteed to be able to benefit from three consecutive weeks of annual leave during the summer period if they desire.“The UNSa also claims”that the absenteeism rate (illness, training) be taken into account in the calculation of the workforce in order to stop the incessant reminders and self-replacement.

“Being forced to do our job badly weighs on us”, the caregivers of the geriatric services on strike this Tuesday