Nurses ready for “all forms of struggle” in face of health ministry ‘silence’

Another example of negotiations stalemate

With doctors already threatening strikes through the summer, the nation’s nurses are not far behind.

Explain reports this morning, unions have been “asking to talk with the health ministry for the last month and a half. In spite of being guaranteed that meetings would take place, nothing has happened up until now”.

It is just another example of perceived government avoidance of unions with a grievance.

Nurses have just completed a two-day national strike. A show of force outside the ministry of health in Lisbon took place from 11am today.

Nurses union leader Guadalupe Simões tells reporters: “The health minister needs to respond positively to our reiterated requests for a meeting (…) What we want specifically is that an orientation is given to hospital administrations to end, once and for all, the situation of relative injustices between nurses regarding the counting of points (that determine pay scales)”.

Nurses also “demand better working conditions and the hiring of more nurses”, she said.

But, until now there has been “silence”.

In May, the Portuguese Nurses Union, the Union of Nursing Professionals and the Union of All United Nurses asked the Ministry of Health to resume negotiations. The request was accepted, and the Ministry committed to do so in June, says SIC. But June has now all but run its course.

Thus, Pedro Costa, from the Nurses Union, says a new strike “may take place at the end of July”, seen as a critical period, as it is not just in the middle of traditional holidays by national citizens but the moment the country is expected to be deluged by pilgrims, arriving for World Youth Day, taking place in Lisbon between August 1-6.

All three unions suggest this is crunch moment for the health ministry.

If by next Tuesday, July 4, there has been no answer, nurses will “really stop”, writes SIC.

The unions “also remind the government that it is urgent to negotiate, in good time, preparation for the 2024 State Budget.

“If the nurses’ strike is confirmed, the month of July could be chaotic in health”, SIC concludes. “The Unions warn a general strike may last as long as necessary until (nurses) are guaranteed serious negotiations that enhances their careers”.

Source: SIC