French student nurses being paid just 1.20 GBP per hour to work 12-hour shifts in the fight against coronavirus have said they feel “worthless”.
Considered as trainees, student nurses work like others in COVID-19 units in French hospitals but are compensated up to a maximum of 50 EUR (43 GBP) per week.
Felix Ledoux, the President of the National Federation of Nursing Students (FNESI) says that more than 50,000 nursing students have been required to work as trainees in French hospitals to fight against coronavirus, earning a maximum of 50 EUR (43 GBP) per week.
The majority of these students complain about the conditions in which they are being treated during the pandemic, such as Mathieu, 23, a third-year nursing student who has been mobilised for three weeks in the COVID-19 unit of a hospital in the north of the Paris region.
Local media reports that Mathieu, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, is “on 12-hour shifts and is paid only 1.42 EUR (1.24 GBP) an hour. “
Mathieu told reporters: “We feel like we’re worthless.”
He says that for first and second-year students the pay is even less, 0.80 EUR and 1.08 EUR (0.70 GBP and 0.94 GBP) per hour respectively.
According to reports, in a decree dated 28th March, the government stated higher pay can be provided in the event of requisitioning students, but this is not yet the case.
Local media report, Mathieu is in fact working as a nurse’s aide (for which he has already graduated, like all second and third-year nursing students) but is only being paid as a trainee.
He said being paid as a trainee under current conditions “is a feeling of humiliation”.
He says: “We are sent to the front line and they despise us. We feel like we’re worthless. It’s nice to thank us, to tell us we’re heroes, but that’s not what makes us live.
“It exacerbates the feeling that our passion is being exploited against us. People tell us: you want to help, well you do it for free, or for 50 EUR (43 GBP) a week”.
Emma Dekkiche, a fellow trainee in a hospital says: “You can’t replace a regular nurse and get paid 50 EUR (43 GBP) a week. It’s not normal.”
Union president Ledoux says: “Some students tell me they’re refused masks because there aren’t enough masks for the nurses.”
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Story By: Ernest Bio Bogore, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
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