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Kamu Hastanelerinde Temizlik İşçilerinin Çalışma Koşulları ve Covid-19 Pandemi Sürecindeki Deneyimleri: İstanbul Örneği


Bu çalışma, kamu hastanelerinde istihdam edilen temizlik işçilerinin çalışma koşullarını ve Covid-19 pandemi sürecindeki deneyimlerini açığa çıkarmayı amaçlamaktadır. Bu amaçla İstanbul’da iki kamu hastanesinde çalışmakta olan 25 temizlik işçisi ile yarı-yapılandırılmış görüşmeler yapılmıştır. Sağlık sektöründe yer alan meslek odalarından İTO ve sendikalardan SES, Öz Sağlık-İş ve Dev Sağlık-İş ile de görüşme gerçekleştirilmiştir. Araştırma sonucunda eksik eleman ile gerçekleştirilen temizlik işinin yoğun iş temposuna bir de Covid-19 pandemisinin ağır çalışma koşulları eklendiği tespit edilmiştir. Pandemi sürecinde risk altında çalışan temizlik işçilerinin hastane içerisindeki faaliyetlerinin diğer sağlık çalışanları karşısında görünür olmadığı belirtilmelidir.
Anahtar Kelimeler : Kamu hastaneleri, Temizlik İşçileri, Covid-19.
Working Conditions of Cleaning Workers in Public Hospitals and their Experience in the Covid-19 Pandemic Process: The Case of Istanbul


This study aims to reveal the working conditions of cleaning workers employed in public hospitals and their experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic process. For this purpose, semi- structured interviews were conducted with 25 cleaning workers working in two public hospitals in Istanbul. Interviews were also held with ITO, one of the professional chambers in the health sector, and SES, Oz Saglik-Is and Dev Saglik-Is, which are unions. As a result of the research, it was determined that the heavy working conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic were added to the intense work schedule of the cleaning work performed with missing personnel. It should be noted that the activities of the cleaning workers working at risk during the pandemic process in the hospital are not visible to other health workers.

Extended Summary

In hospitals, which are the places where health services are provided, there are cleaning workers as the providers of the necessary cleaning and hygiene conditions. This study aims to reveal the working conditions of cleaning workers in public hospitals and their experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic process. For this purpose, semi-structured interviews were conducted with the workers in two public hospitals in Istanbul’s Bağcılar and Fatih districts. The reason for using semi-structured interview method, which is one of the qualitative research techniques, is to create a picture of the reality of the participants. A total of 25 cleaning workers were interviewed and the workers to be interviewed were determined by random sampling method. Undoubtedly, these 25 cleaning workers interviewed do not represent all workers working in the public health sector. However, in the study, it has been tried to catch the traces that will reveal the general qualities based on the experiences of the cleaning workers.

Cleaning workers were asked questions about their working conditions, job description, relations with the union and their experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic process. Considering the findings of the research, it has been seen that the employment style of cleaning workers has changed. The workers working under the subcontractor company were transferred to the permanent staff in 2018. Workers who had the right to unionize during the transition to the staff became members of the Öz Sağlık-İş union. Cleaning workers stated that they do not have a say in the process of union determination. Due to the existence of workers who cannot continue to work due to reasons such as compulsory retirement in the process of permanent worker status, there is work with the missing number of personnel. Recruitment of workers has been carried out but still not reached a sufficient level. It can be said that the working intensities of the workers are high due to this missing number of personnel. The main reason for the high work intensity is that the job descriptions of cleaning workers are not clearly determined. This situation causes cleaning workers to carry patients, carry out errands and even fulfill the special instructions of other health workers. Cleaning workers, who continue their work with the lack of a clear definition of the job and the number of missing personnel, work under an intense tempo. This intense pace causes cleaning workers to not be able to use their lunch and rest breaks effectively. In the meantime, the cleaning workers, who cannot rest and feed properly, continue to work in a brisk manner. Although cleaning workers create the necessary hygienic conditions that allow health care to be provided, they feel invisible. All of the workers we interviewed expressed their discomfort at not being accepted as health workers and the devaluation of their work.

The workers, who continue their work under a busy schedule during the working day, stated that they have difficulty in sustaining their livelihood with the wages they receive. They stated that they do additional work after working hours despite their intense work schedule. Cleaning workers are engaged in income-generating activities such as patient care, house cleaning, making and selling handmade products. Another striking factor in the working conditions of cleaning workers is that they are open to hazards in terms of worker health and safety.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the whole world and has had wide-ranging effects. In this study, it is aimed to reveal the experiences of cleaning workers during the pandemic process. During the pandemic process, cleaning workers, like other health workers, continued to work at an intense pace and under risk. With the number of missing personnel, intensive working conditions have increased even more with the burden of the pandemic. The cleaning workers interviewed stated that they had difficulty in accessing protective equipment in the early stages of the pandemic process and that they worked at high risk due to the long stay in the patient’s room and the nature of their work throughout the entire process. Stating that their feelings of being invisible continued during the pandemic period, the workers emphasized that they were not appreciated during the Covid-19 period. The fact that they do not benefit from the additional payment given by the Ministry of Health to health workers can be shown as an element that feeds this feeling. Being visible and benefiting from additional payments have been an important topic among the demands of the workers regarding the pandemic period. Öz Sağlık-İş, Dev Sağlık-İş, SES and İTO officials, whom we interviewed, also emphasized that the cleaning workers work under intense working conditions with missing personnel and stated that they carry out teamwork during the pandemic period.

Keywords : Public hospitals, Cleaning Workers, Covid-19.

Kaynak Göster

İNCE, D., & AKBALIK, S., & . ( 2022). Kamu Hastanelerinde Temizlik İşçilerinin Çalışma Koşulları ve Covid-19 Pandemi Sürecindeki Deneyimleri: İstanbul Örneği. Çalışma ve Toplum, 5(75), 2839-2873. https://doi.org/10.54752/ct.1191464