Algarve nurses threaten further strikes

Nurses working in the Algarve’s state-run hospitals have vowed to organise further strikes against the “inaction” regarding career progression.

The “indecisiveness and inoperativeness” of the Algarve University Hospital Board (CHUA) has led to this, they say.

“Discontent among nurses is evident and, of course, strike actions will intensify,” the president of the Portuguese Nurses Union (SEP) told reporters after a meeting with the CHUA board in Faro on Tuesday.

SEP and CHUA had already met on January 12 and met again this week following a two-hour strike on February 2 and a morning and afternoon-shift strike on February 8.

What nurses are demanding is for the government to enact the decree law from November 28, 2022, relating to the point system which evaluates nurses’ performances, allowing them to progress in their careers.

The SEP boss, José Carlos Martins, says it is “inadmissible” that CHUA has decided to “not retroactively pay” what it owes to nurses and “not correct the injustices” that nurses have pointed out.

“In other words, it is not attributing the fair and legal points to graduate nurses, to nurses who have completed their specialty while working, to nurses promoted to specialists and head nurses between 2004 and 2009,” said José Carlos Martins.

“We are here today, without any solutions to practically anything, when many other institutions have already solved a large number of these problems,” said the union chief.

José Carlos Martins also said that CHUA’s explanation has been that the “matter is complex”, which has only fuelled the union’s fire.

“There has been more than enough time since November 28, when the decree law was published, solve these problems at a different pace, which has already happened in other regions,” said Martins.

The Algarve also stands out for another negative reason, the president of SEP added – it is the only region where nurses employed by the State have “yet to be informed” of their situation regarding the points system.

According to Martins, “nurses are left with no alternatives, as the (CHUA) administration is pushing nurses to other forms of protest, inevitably”.

Two meetings have already been called for February 24 in Faro and February 27 in Portimão to discuss the next steps to take, he added.

By Michael Bruxo
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