The Democratic Union of Nurses of Portugal (Sindepor) today announced a strike on overtime work in November and December, to demand the immediate opening of negotiations with the government on a career that corrects inequalities.
The strike was called for between 00:00 on November 3 and 24:00 on December 31, covering the public sector throughout the country, Sindepor announced in a statement.
“The response capacity of the SNS is worsening day by day, to the detriment of all Portuguese people, whether they are SNS [National Health Service] professionals or not. We have no doubt that, with more satisfied workers, the quality of the NHS’s response will increase, and nurses are the largest professional class in this service,” Sindepor’s president, Carlos Ramalho, said in the statement.
The union leader says that, “in this context and in the face of the total inability of the Ministry of Health to even listen” to the nurses’ problems, they were forced to go on strike.
“We have regular contact with nurses in hospitals and primary health care. They are tired, angry and unmotivated, and it’s an increasingly aging class, which has led to a clear increase in absenteeism. Against this backdrop, our strike at least allows them not to be forced to work overtime, overloaded as they are with the work they’ve been doing for the rest of the year,” he explains.
Among the demands associated with the strike, Sindepor points to “the immediate integration into the staff of public institutions of all nurses with valid employment contracts” and compliance with the so-called “safe appropriations”, through the immediate hiring of nurses, as well as “the effective enshrinement of the autonomy of institutions to hire”.
It also calls for the regularization and opening of competitions for all categories, namely nurses, specialist nurses and nurse managers, as well as for management positions, “together with the fair legal application of the points count to all nurses for the purposes of career progression”.
For Sindepor, “there is still an urgent need to immediately open negotiations with the Ministry of Health to negotiate a nursing career that applies equally, that values the profession, corrects inequalities, injustices and current discrimination, that includes compensation for the risk, rapid wear and tear inherent in the profession, namely through the allocation of risk allowance and specific conditions for access to retirement without penalties.”
In this chapter, he advocates a review of the salary scale, not only in “pecuniary values”, but also its structure and progression, in order to value nurses’ personal investment in their training, “from which the NHS benefits”.
Sindepor is also calling for “a fair, transparent and feasible performance evaluation model, which takes into account the specificities of the profession and promotes the professional development and salaries of nurses”, thus contributing to strengthening the NHS.