On 12 May healthworkers in Sofia and Zagreb demonstrated over poor pay and working conditions and the crisis of understaffing. 5000 nurses, medical professionals, midwives and lab technicians joined a demonstration outside the Council of Ministers in Sofia demanding a 1500 Lev (EUR 765) minimum wage for health workers as a step towards stemming the flow of health workers out of the country. In Zagreb the call was also for improved pay and working conditions and in particular the respect for collective agreements in relation to overtime pay.
Health workers call for higher pay to stop emigration
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The health workers' union has called for increased funding for the sector to deal with the major problem of healthworkers' pay. The union reports that an analysis of wage developments in the first half of 2017 found that average pay for doctors and other medical staff actually fell in seven Russian regions while in contrast wages in industry increased. The wide range of salaries across the country is exacerbating staff shortages and the union highlights the fact that in many institutions the pay bill is the first to be cut in order to fund other areas of health spending.
The ETUC has welcomed the vote by the European Parliament to support changes to the posted workers' directive. The changes were negotiated between the Parliament, European Commission and Council and now the Directive can be used to guarantee that posted workers get the same pay rates as locally employed workers. The ETUC concedes that there was a significant compromise in the exclusion of road transport workers but identified this and the need to ensure application through the sub-contracting chain as issues to be taken up in future.
More than 24 million workers on low wages in the EU would get a pay rise if trade union proposals for the EU’s draft Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages are accepted. The ETUC is calling for a specific threshold to be included in the directive which would mean no statutory minimum wages could be set below 60% of the national median wage and 50% of the national average wage in each Member State that has a legal minimum wage. At the moment, the European Commission has only included the threshold in the draft directive as an indicative guide. ETUC Deputy General Secretary Esther Lynch said: “A