Nurses on two-day strike in five districts, including Algarve

Nurses are due to embark on a two-day strike in five Portuguese districts, including the Algarve, from tomorrow (Thursday).

The strike has been called by SEP, the syndicate of Portuguese nurses, and is based on a number of long-running gripes, including overtime payment wrangles and nurses’ exclusion from the government’s return to a 35-hour week for public sector workers.

Initially, the strike was to be supported nationally for Thursday and Friday, but an 11th hour commitment not to reverse rules giving nurses a degree of autonomy saw the first day of the strike dropped by all but five districts, reports Lusa news agency.

SEP has meantime confirmed that there could be further action in September if the government does not concede to nurses’ demands for a shorter working week, while SINTAP – the syndicate of public sector workers – has said that it hopes the impact of the strike “will be decisive for the government, most particularly the Ministry of Health, to rapidly advance with negotiations with the unions”.

According to Lusa, hospitals, health centres and other health units will be affected by the walk-out that is promising “adhesion in large numbers”.


Meantime, the transfer of three specialist doctors from Bragança to the Algarve, to help with the demands of the summer season, have backfired blisteringly.

Bragança council – backed by the intermunicipal community of Trás-Os-Montes – is calling for their “immediate return”, claiming the transfer has left 800 patients “in the lurch”.

The council’s fury is being directed at “the government and regional entities” but is is not known yet what will come of it.

Bragança’s case is that not only does the area suffer from its own lack of medical specialists, the summer sees “thousands of Portuguese emigrés returning to the region” which has now been “unjustifiably” depleted of three valuable medical experts.

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