Healthcare unions strike and demonstrate over funding and staff shortages


Nine unions representing health workers in the Basque region – ELA, SATSE, LAB, SME, UGT, CCOO, ESK, SAE and UTESE – are calling for urgent action to increase funding for healthcare and deal with staff shortages. Strikes took place on 29 October in the Araba province, on 5 November in Gipuzkoa and then on 12 November further action is due in Bizkaia. The unions say that the public health system is facing a serious situation across primary care, hospitals and mental health. Workers are physically and emotionally exhausted because of high workloads with further problems arising from high rates of temporary employment, neglect of health and safety and privatisation of services. The unions also argue that these are long-term problems that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Their key demands include an increase in funding to match the European average, increased staffing, permanent contracts for temporary workers, action on health and safety and a reversal of privatisation.