As if the interminable queues, organisational chaos and virulent flu bug were not enough to be getting on with this New Year, the national federation of public health service workers has just announced that it is calling a national strike to take place on Friday January 20.
The reason is the lack of follow-through in promises made by minister of health Adalberto Campos Fernandes.
Campos Fernandes has been under-fire for months now – whether for failings in organisation in health services of the Algarve, or lack of staff in hospitals and health services up and down the country.
But what he has singularly failed to oversee, say workers, are promised improvements, including the application of a 35-hour working week, the hiring of more professionals and the end of cuts to overtime payments.
The Federation also has career-structure demands which imply higher salaries for staff who work in ‘pre-hospital’ emergencies. In a statement issued today, it said that “the absence of resolution of these problems, which have been dragging on for years, has contributed to the degradation in the quality of State health services and the working conditions within the sector”.
Federation spokesperson Luís Pesca told Lusa that the strike is designed to call-out “all health workers who are not doctors or nurses”, although these professionals “can join the cause if they wish”.