Prime minister claims nurses' demands 'absolutely impossible'

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 12-03-2019 06:07:00 · 0 Comments
Prime minister claims nurses' demands 'absolutely impossible'

Portugal's prime minister António Costa rejected the idea on Monday that there was a "tug-of-war" between the government and nurses, but said there could not be an agreement on everything because there were demands that were "absolutely impossible."

Costa told reporterws that the government was making efforts to continue to hire more nurses, to avoid raising taxes and to continue investing in equipment, new installations and to improve working conditions.

He was speaking on the sidelines of an inauguration of a new health centre in Odivelas, near Lisbon, which represents an investment of around €1.4 million and will serve 41,000 patients.

Asked by Lusa whether he had filed a complaint against the head of the nurses association, which he announced in February, Costa merely said that "the facts were transmitted" to the competent authorities.

Last Friday, thousands of nurses from around Portugal staged a protest against poor working conditions.

The protest on 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 of 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 crowdfunding 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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