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Health workers want to hear more than “warm applause”

 Care personnel in Switzerland have begun a week of protests to call for higher salaries and better working conditions as the Covid-19 pandemic puts the health sector under additional pressure. 

Trade unions and other healthcare interest groups say “warm words and applause are not enough” for an increasingly exhausted staff at hospitals and homes. 

They urge politicians to give health personnel a proper financial reward and to ensure the best possible safety measures. 

Unions are concerned that staff might again be asked to work extra shifts similar to the situation during the first wave of the pandemic earlier this year. 

The protests began with a demonstration in the town of Neuchâtel, in western Switzerland, on Monday and will be followed by similar actions in cities and towns across the country. 

A major rally is scheduled for Saturday in front the parliament building in the capital Bern. 

However, only a small group of protestors rallied outside the Neuchâtel hospital, according to the Swiss news agency, Keystone-SDA. 

A trade unionist participant said that health personnel were not allowed to join the 90-minute action.

Public and private rallies of more than ten people have been banned in the region as part of measures to contain the spread of the pandemic.