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Édouard-Herriot hospital in Lyon. Google Streetview

Second French hospital calls unlimited strike against forced vax

The SUD Santé Social union of the Édouard-Herriot hospital in Lyon filed a strike notice in order to oppose the compulsory vaccination of caregivers and the exclusion of unvaccinated patients. It will begin on July 29, for an unlimited period.

Published: July 28, 2021, 6:06 am

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    On July 23, the SUD Santé Social union section of the Édouard-Herriot hospital in Lyon submitted a strike notice which will begin on July 29 at 6 am “for an unlimited period”, which is only supposed to end if “the outcome of negotiations is favorable to the claims”.

    The strikers oppose the compulsory vaccination of caregivers– announced by President Emmanuel Macron on July 12 and due to come into force in September – by demanding “the non-dismissal of unvaccinated hospital workers”. This potential sanction has since been rejected by Parliament, but staff members refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19 will risk a work ban and suspension of pay.

    In a letter addressed to the hospital management published on the union ‘s Facebook page, the striking staff also demanded that the Covid-19 be systematically recognized as a work accident and called on management to “respect the public service mission accessible to all”.

    As was reported by Le Progrès, the staff oppose the discrimination against patients based on their vaccination status: “We refuse their classification at the entrance of our public health establishment.” The threat is authoritarian and it is infantilizing, said the union.

    “It’s too brutal,” according to Chaïbia Khaif-Janssen, secretary of the union. She spoke about the obligation to vaccinate caregivers on BFM Lyon: “It stigmatizes, it penalizes, it punishes the hospital workers who for more than a year and a half have worked so hard to fight against this pandemic and this is the result. The fact that we threaten them pushes them to their limits. Some are waiting for the Sanofi vaccine, others want to wait until they have a little perspective on messenger RNA vaccines, and there are lots of other reasons too. But the threat is authoritarian, it is infantilizing. It’s too brutal.”

    This is the second unlimited strike notice filed in France. The same notice was recently filed at a Montélimar hospital. The CGT section of the Portes de Provence hospital group, in the Drôme, filed an unlimited strike notice in order to oppose the compulsory vaccination of caregivers.

    “We refuse the vaccine obligation, we ask for more transparency, we lack perspective vis-à-vis this vaccine,” said Elsa Ruillère, deputy secretary of the CGT of the Portes de Provence hospital group (GHPP), in Montélimar in the Drôme, speaking to France Bleu. The day before, the union official had commented on this decision during a televised intervention on RMC, during which she had, among other things, denounced “discriminating” and “sectarian” government measures.

    The CFDT, the majority union, for its part refused to follow the strike. Currently some 300 to 400 people are already vaccinated, out of a total workforce of around 2000 caregivers.

    “The majority of the members have agreed to strike, there will be some in all the services,” the CGT trade unionist underscored however. “We have caregivers who resign, decide to reorient themselves, abandon their vocation. I ask the government this question: what are you going to do if 40 percent of caregivers resign?”

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