Nurses’ union announce general strike for April

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 14-03-2019 10:56:00 · 0 Comments
Nurses’ union announce general strike for April

Portugal’s Democratic Union of Nurses (Sindepor) has announced a “general, prolonged and very hard strike” in April, after a meeting with the government that marked the start of a negotiation period.

The head of the union, Carlos Ramalho, said after the meeting that the strike has been called so that, “once and for all, it is understood that nurses want to negotiate, but want serious negotiations,” adding that the strike is to be in April with no date announced.

Ramalho told Lusa News Agency that the date is to be announced later on Friday as a march is scheduled in Lisbon in honour of nurses.

The union and the government had met last Thursday to try to reach an agreement on claims of the class that have led to a civil requisition.

He said that the strike will be for all services, but “there will continue to be room for negotiation” and “strikes can be announced and called off if necessary.”

Ramalho said that the meetings are to take place every second Wednesday, but the next one will be held on Thursday 21 March.
He insisted that nurses have not been respected by the government and a career diploma is under discussion, which was not the result of negotiation but rather an imposition.

Ramalho also said that the union is available to negotiate all matters, for as long as necessary, mentioning the unfreezing of career progressions, granting allowance to the specialist nurse and salary grid, as fundamental issues.

In related news, over 70 buses carrying nurses from around Portugal travelled to the capital last Friday in a protest against poor working conditions.

Sónia Viegas, from the National Movement of Nurses, said that around 5,000 people from outside Lisbon were expected to take part in the demonstration.

At around 2:30pm hundreds of nurses gathered at Lisbon’s Bela Vista park, from where they marched to Santa Maria hospital.
The march was supported by the Association of Nurses as well as most nurses’ trade unions.

Many of the participants were wearing white clothing and white carnations.

The strike coincided with International Women’s Day to celebrate one of the “central figures” of the profession, Florence Nightingale, a nurse who treated soldiers during the Crimea War in the 19th century.

The protest last Friday took place following a strike in operating theatres and after the cabinet on 7 February took the controversial move of imposing a civil requisition on nurses who had been striking since 31 January in operating theatres at four major state hospitals, alleging that they were failing to comply with rules on skeleton services.

The “surgical strike”, as it had been dubbed, was called by the Portuguese Association of Nurses (ASPE) and the Democratic Union of Nurses (Sindepor) in 10 hospitals, to run until 28 February. It followed a similar stoppage lasting 45 days at the end of 2018.

The stoppages were called after an independent movement launched a crowd-funding initiative to support striking nurses that raised €740,000.

The main points of contention in the strike are the unfreezing of career progressions and nurses’ basic salary.


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