Democratic Union of Nurses’ strike compounds overtime ban waged by nation’s doctors
Nurses began an overtime strike today, called by the Democratic Union of Nurses of Portugal (SINDEPOR), to demand the correction of career inequalities. It is a protest that is expected to continue until the end of the year, and which comes on the back of an overtime ban already waged by the nation’s doctors and causing multiple hospital constraints.
Today’s new strike for the Portuguese State health service began at 00:00 is scheduled to run until midnight on December 21.
Among its demands, SINDEPOR is calling for the immediate integration into the workforce of all nurses with valid employment contracts, and fulfilment of so-called “safe appropriations”, through the immediate hiring of nurses, as well as “the effective consecration of the autonomy of institutions to hire”.
The syndicate is also calling for the regularisation and opening of recruitment for all categories within the profession (meaning general nurses, specialist nurses and nurse managers, as well as for management positions) together with the fair, legal application of the points system that underpins career progression.
SINDEPOR’s hope is to be able to discuss these points with the Ministry of Health. Says the syndicate in a statement, the ambition is to include “compensation for the risk, rapid wear and tear inherent in the profession, namely through the allocation of a risk allowance and specific conditions for access to retirement without penalisation”.
The union is also calling for a review of salary scales – not just in terms of “pecuniary values”, but also structure and progression – for a “fair, transparent and feasible” performance evaluation model, which takes into account the specificities of the profession and promotes nurses’ professional and salary development”.
SINDEPOR’s strike not only comes as doctors are locked in a battle with the health ministry, but as fellow union SNE (the national nurses syndicate) is also waging a ban on extraordinary overtime.
Tomorrow sees the next round in negotiations between doctors syndicates and the government. All hopes are for some kind of truce that can pave the way back to less chaos within the nation’s public hospitals.
Already, reports are suggesting the “solution” for A&E cover in Lisbon is “in rupture”, particularly when it comes to obstetric care.