The HSSMS-MT nurses’ union with the support of the SSZSSH independent health workers’ union has been continuing its series of protests around the country, with a major demonstration planned for 12 May – International Nurses’ Day. The unions are angry that their members have been offered pay rises of only 3%-5% when doctors have been awarded 10% or more. The HSSMS-MT argues that staffing shortages are becoming acute with many workers leaving the sector because of low pay noting that hospital cooks and cleaners, for example, are on salaries below HRK 4000 (€500) a month.
Health workers protests continue
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The POEDHN health workers’ union, supported by the ADEDY public sector trade union confederation, organised a national demonstration on 22 February with calls for urgent action on health service funding. The union is demanding increased staffing and measures to address the widespread use of precarious contracts across the health service. It is also continuing to campaign for better pay and conditions with many health workers facing low pay, often little more than the minimum wage. This is a long-term legacy of austerity with pay cuts imposed in 2009 and pay frozen since 2015.
Health unions organising in both the public (GÖD and younion) and private (vida and GPA) sectors united with other health organisations in a major nationwide action on 10 November to highlight the state of the health service and the need for urgent action. The unions stress that staffing shortages were already apparent before the pandemic and their impact now is to leave most health and care workers both physically and mentally exhausted. They underline the need for increased staffing, improved and additional training and better employment conditions if a dangerous crisis is to be avoided. On
The public sector unions representing health and social care workers, younion and GÖD, organised a protest outside the Ministry of Health earlier this month to warn of imminent burn out of the health sector. The unions are calling on the government to take urgent action on staff shortages and to convene a national health summit. Younion and GÖD presented new calculations on the growing staffing gap in the health sector with a national shortage of 3369 nurses in state, community and district hospitals, an increase of 19.2% compared to May of this year. With 986 vacancies for doctors, more