Doctors start strike Tuesday and health protest intensifies in coming weeks

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Doctors will begin a three-day national strike on Tuesday, but stoppages in the health sector will continue in the coming weeks, also extending to pharmacists and nurses.

Called by the Independent Doctors’ Union (SIM), this strike will take place between Tuesday and Thursday with the aim of forcing the Government to present a concrete proposal to revise the salary grid, as part of the negotiations that began in 2022, but which did not result in an agreement between the parties.

Also called by SIM, a month-long strike on overtime work by family doctors begins on Monday, which the union recognizes will affect “many tens of thousands of consultations” in health centers.

After the last round of negotiations, which took place on Friday, the union’s general secretary, Jorge Roque da Cunha, accused the Ministry of Health of “not presenting the negotiating documents” and guaranteed that he will only go to the next meeting if he receives the government’s proposals in advance.

The protest of these health professionals continues on August 1 and 2, with a new national strike called by the National Federation of Doctors (FNAM), the second held in about a month, after the stoppage that took place on July 5 and 6 and which registered a 90% adhesion, in the accounts of the union structure.

According to the president of FNAM, Joana Bordalo e Sá, “all reasonable deadlines have been exhausted” in these negotiations that have been underway for about 15 months, with the strike being the “only safeguard for the ministry to effectively” come up with concrete proposals.

In the discussion phase of the negotiating protocol, in July 2022, still with the Minister of Health Marta Temido, the Government and the unions agreed to include the salary scale of doctors of the National Health Service (SNS) in the negotiations.

The protest in the sector also extends to pharmacists in the National Health Service, whose union has already issued a notice for several stoppages that will last until September to demand “serious negotiations” from the Government.

This round of strikes begins on Monday, with the paralysis of pharmacists throughout the country, continuing on September 5 in the districts of Beja, Évora, Faro, Lisbon, Portalegre, Santarém and Setúbal and in the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira.

Strikes are scheduled for September 12 in Braga, Bragança, Porto, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real, Aveiro, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Guarda, Leiria and Viseu, ending the protest on September 19 with another nationwide strike.

Also the Democratic Union of Nurses of Portugal (Sindepor) decided to move to the grave from August 1 to 4 in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, after the recent negotiation with the Government on the career review was “inconclusive”.

This nurses’ protest will cover the 18 municipalities of the Lisbon Metropolitan Area and will take place between 00:00 on August 1 and 24:00 on August 4, when Lisbon will be hosting this year’s edition of World Youth Day, a meeting of thousands of young people with Pope Francis, with the main ceremonies taking place in Parque Eduardo VII and Parque Tejo, north of Parque das Nações, on the riverside of the Tagus.

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