Nurses ready for three-day strike
A previous SEP protest, taken from the syndicate's Facebook page

Nurses ready for three-day strike

Meeting scheduled with government for next week

With CTT Post Office workers and the nation’s teachers on strike today, the November labour panorama is bubbling with strife.

The second day of this month already sees a welter of ‘promises’ and ‘good news’ from the government hitting the headlines, but not a great deal to substantiate any of it.

Even TAP’s ‘excellent news’ on turning a thumping 3rd quarter profit after years of dismal losses is being queried now by television economist João Duque, who has told SIC it is “impossible to tell” whether TAP CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener is “telling the truth”.

Into the maelstrom of what many believe has become a brazen ‘post-truth era’ comes the Syndicate of Portuguese Nurses (SEP) which has today delivered a “pre-advice of strike action” scheduled for November 17 and November 22-23.

The syndicate lodged its ‘pre-advice’ after yet another round of negotiations with the health ministry. It is understood a new meeting has been scheduled for next week which may (just may) turn the tide on nurses’ intentions.

These however are  based on nurses wanting “repositioning of points with regard to career progressions” to 2018. It is a demand a court has already upheld.

Right now, the ministry has agreed to this ‘repositioning’, but just to cover 2022. 

The decision implies rewarding nurses financially with 75% of the salary increases they were entitled to. It is almost certain the ministry will say it doesn’t have the financial leeway to go back to 2018.

Says the syndicate spokesperson Guadalupe Simões: “The government has developed its position and with regard to a series of other questions which have to do with injustices of positioning relating to nurses it has also not shown itself willing to resolve these problems. Therefore the syndicate delivered a pre-advice for strike action to the health ministry and the strike will take place on (Thursday) 17th, and then a new strike on November 22 and 23”.

SEP is available “as always” and right up until the moment of strikes scheduled “to discuss, negotiate and resolve the problems with which nurses are confronted, she said.

“We cannot allow that, considering the Syndicate of Portuguese Nurses won its case in court regarding retroactive payments to 2018” the health ministry is now backpeddaling.

“We cannot even understand how it is that with a decision in court to pay retroactives to 2018, the health ministry presents a proposal to pay to 2022 (…) Naturally we cannot defraud the expectations of nurses, and even more, maintain discriminations that exist and continue to exist within the sector”, Ms Simões concluded.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com