Just as the nurses’ syndicate confirms two further days of strike – this time for the north and centre of the country – a court in Santa Maria da Feira has come out in favour of their cause, saying all nurses should be paid equally, no matter what kind of contracts they are on.
It is a decision that could lead to as many as 14,000 nurses finally getting “justice” at a cost of around €18 million for the health ministry, explains Guadalupe Simões, the syndicate’s national coordinator.
As Simões added, the sum is a comparative “drop in the ocean” for a government that has spent billions recapitalising banks.
But it remains to be seen if the ruling changes the national situation.
For now, it is relevant only to 16 nurses at the Douro and Vouga health authority who have been receiving €181.42 less than work colleagues on different contracts.
At issue are SNS (national health service) contracts versus individual work contracts. It is nurses signing the latter who have been receiving less pay and benefits.
The Santa Maria labour tribunal condemned the practice – in place since 2013 – saying the health professionals should all benefit from the same levels of pay and conditions.
Diário Notícias explains the hospital has at least a month in which to lodge an appeal.
Meantime, this week’s new strike will go ahead on Thursday and Friday.
Strikes in the Algarve and Alentejo last week saw many health services operating almost as normal.