French aged care staff take to streets to protest pay and conditions under COVID-19 – staff in worst-hit regions to receive $2,500 ‘bonus’

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Staff from one of the country’s major aged care providers gathered outside of homes in Paris, Lille and other French cities to demand better pay amid a 50% coronavirus fatality rate in aged care.

Staff at Korian – a major operator which has more than 850 facilities in Europe, with over 53,000 staff and 300,000 residents in France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and Spain – were responding to a call from unions to lobby for increased pay.

In France – where Korian has around 300 care homes – the operator is facing several lawsuits filed by families who have lost family members during the pandemic.

The protests come as the French Government formally opened two months of talks with health and aged care workers over changes to its health care system

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has already promised that health workers would see a “significant” salary raise rise in what he promised to be a “radical” review of the French health care system to be unveiled in July.

The Government has also stated that all staff working in public hospitals and nursing homes in the regions hardest hit by the virus will get a 1,500-euro (AUD$2,492) bonus from the state.

Over 14,000 COVID-19 deaths have taken place in French aged care homes – around half of the country’s 28,000-plus deaths.

Will $2,500 be enough to appease workers who have put their lives at risk to support their residents though?