New blow for nurses union: courts rule in favour of ministry

Judges have today delivered a hammer-blow to the nurses union (Ordem dos Enfermeiros).

It now looks highly likely that the union’s board of direction – which has been exceedingly critical of the government for years – will require a total overhaul.

This is a development that follows one of the worst labour disputes in the history of Portuguese public administration.

Surgical strikes called by the nurses union – and supported via online crowdfunding – caused mayhem in the run-up to Christmas and into the New Year (click here), cancelling thousands of programmed surgeries.

The onslaught of walkouts by nurses in operating theatres was finally brought to a halt when the government lodged a civil requisition (click here).

There then followed the opening of an inquiry, to try and determine whether the union was running ‘correctly’ or whether things were amiss.

Nurses ‘leader’ Ana Rita Cavaco called it a witch-hunt, totally unjustified, that would find nothing wrong.

But reports went on to suggest the inquiry actually uncovered “unjustified expenses” by Ana Rita Cavaco herself “sufficient to cause the board’s disbandment”.

The Ordem then tried to lodge a ‘providência cautelar’, to declare the inquiry illegitimate – and heard today that this has failed.

Posting an image of the nurses’ ‘mouthpiece’ through so many recent struggles looking contrite, Rádio Renascença stressed the health ministry justified the inquiry into the Ordem, saying it was needed to safeguard the public interest.

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