Nurses working in the health units of the Portuguese Association of Private Hospitalization (APHP) will go on strike for the first time on March 16, the Portuguese Nurses Union (SEP) announced today.
The SEP is demanding a 35-hour work week and the regulation of shifts, a monthly salary increase for shift workers, the payment of on-call time, an increase in compensation for so-called stressful hours (nights, weekends and holidays), a 10% salary increase and an increase in meal allowances, as well as 25 days’ leave.
The strike “has to do with the negotiation of careers at the private hospital level, which involves the main health economic groups, in a total of 75 institutions and covers 4,200 nurses,” explained union leader Rui Marroni to journalists today at an initiative near Coimbra’s Hospital da Luz.
“These nurses have had their schedules deregulated and are working 40 hours a week or more. Since we started this process, two institutions have come forward with salary increases, but what we want is for this to be regulated in the collective agreement that we are negotiating,” he added.
The unionist denounced excessive schedules, with nurses “being owed more than 200 hours of work, which is at least a month’s work, and that can’t happen.
“What we want is for this matter to be properly regulated in this collective agreement and to be limited to 35 hours a week, which is what happens in the rest of the sectors, namely the social sector and public administration,” he stressed.
According to Rui Marroni, the negotiations, which began in November, “have not made any progress on the part of the association that represents these private groups.
“We presented a proposal for the revision of the collective agreement on November 3, and we have had four meetings, the last of which was on February 14, and what we brought back from the meeting is little more than nothing,” he said.
The SEP leader added that the APHP wants to negotiate a bank of hours, which the union does not accept because it wants “nurses to actually practice a weekly work period and not a deregulated work that jeopardizes their personal and family life.
The strike was announced today in Coimbra, near the Hospital da Luz, with the placement of a banner, followed by a press conference.
This afternoon, the SEP will also put up banners near the Sanfil and CUF hospitals, which are part of the APHP.
“We want to negotiate a collective agreement, that is, a career for the nurses in this sector, but if there is no progress in the negotiation process, we will naturally decide with the nurses on other forms of struggle,” summarized Rui Marroni.