group of doctors
Image: Hugo Delgado/ Lusa

Doctors announce new 48-hour walkout, this time for Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo

Pressure increases on health ministry as negotiations with unions resume

Doctors in the area of the Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo Regional Health Administration will be on strike on September 13 and 14, according to a notice issued today by SIM, the Syndicate of Independent Doctors.

According to the document, the hospitals of Loures, Vila Franca de Xira, Garcia de Orta, José de Almeida-Cascais and the hospital centres of Barreiro-Montijo, Setúbal and Lisbon Psychiatric will be covered by this regional strike – the latest in a round of industrial action waged by health service doctors calling for ‘decent pay and conditions’.

The strike will also affect doctors at the Gama Pinto Ophthalmology Institute (Lisbon), the IPO (cancer hospital) of Lisbon and the IPJD – Sports Medicine Department, as well as the health centre groupings (ACES) of Cascais, Loures/Odivelas, Estuário do Tejo, Almada/Seixal, Arco Ribeirinho and Arrábida.

SIM says the strike will take place “in the form of a total stoppage and absence from the workplace” of doctors, from 00:00 on September 13 until midnight on September 14.

The aim (as with all recent public sector strikes) is to get the government to give “an effective response to the union’s demands“. Doctors want the ministers of Finance and Health to present “a proposal for a salary scale that restores losses accumulated as a result of the inflationary erosion of the last decade and that positions the entire medical profession, including interns, with honour and justice in the Single Remuneration Table of the civil service”.

This is the second strike to have been called recently in this region. The first strike came in August 23-24; there was one before that affecting the central region, and one subsequently, in the Algarve, Alentejo and Azores .

Two further strikes are planned for the northern region, one between September 6 and 7, another starting on September 20, and ending at midnight the following day.

Last Friday, the government brought forward the next ‘round of negotiations with the medical unions’. They will be meeting this Thursday. As Lusa explains, the meeting was scheduled for September 11, but was brought forwards “in order to speed up the negotiations, to close this ‘dossier’ and publish the diplomas, and so that doctors can still start receiving more in the Family Health Units (USF) this year or join the new full dedication regime”.

None of this has filled the unions with any sense of hope. They continue to say their expectations for reaching any kind of agreement with the government “are very low”.

Source material: LUSA