nurses on strike
The fact that many strikes these days call for 'respect' shows just how undervalued key workers (particularly teachers) feel, and explains perhaps the reason for their determination not to back down

Nurses in private sector stage unprecedented one-day strike

Nurses from 75 private hospitals and clinics want 10% increase in salaries

Nurses from 75 private hospitals and clinics are on strike today, signalling an unprecedented moment in Portugal’s employment history. Private health professionals have never staged this kind of industrial action before.

Said Isabel Barbosa, current leader of SEP (the syndicate of nurses): “From the information that has reached us, dissatisfaction is great and the will to join the strike immense. Nurses want to see improved working conditions”.

Scheduled for the morning and afternoon shifts, the strike is expected to involve around 4,200 nurses working in the 75 health units covered by the Portuguese Association of Private Hospitals (APHP).

These nurses are demanding the implementation of a 35-hour week (in line with public sector counterparts), proper regulation of working hours, monthly pay increases for those working in shifts and payment for time spent on-call.

In addition, they are demanding an increase in compensation for what are known in the business as “the painful hours” worked at night, on weekends and holidays, writes Lusa – adding that in addition there are demands for increased meal subsidies, and 25 working days of holidays per year.

According to Isabel Barbosa, proposals by APHP to date “do not meet the nurses’ expectations”, hence the decision to go on strike.

Today’s protest “is not an end, but a means to achieve better working conditions”, Barbosa told Lusa.

In early March, APHP stressed that it maintains “the spirit of partnership with all unions in the framework of collective bargaining”, considering that this is a “relevant instrument for workers and companies”.