Portuguese doctors strike in August

Written By Manuel Poças

Portuguese doctors held a national strike on August 1 and 2 due to their union’s rejection of the government’s proposal on salaries and working hours. This national strike coincided with the Pope’s visit to the country.

The negotiations between the Ministry of Health and the National Federation of Doctors have not made much progress. The parties haven’t been able to reach an agreement over working hours and salary increases. 

The Government proposed a 1.6% general salary increase, and a 20% increase for those who joined the new-called ‘regime of full dedication’ with 300 extra hours, instead of 150 hours. According to the doctors, the proposal is unacceptable as Expresso reports that the union is looking for a 30% general salary increase. 

In earlier meetings, the Government agreed to meet the doctors’ main demand – the re-implementation of a 35-hour work week. However, the 35-hour work week would only be available for the doctors that did not adhere to the ‘regime of full dedication’.

There will be another negotiation round on August 9, where the doctors will present a counter-proposal. An external negotiator will be brought in to help with negotiations, as it is clear that the union is not satisfied with the conditions of the current proposal.

A representative for the doctors union told the media that “it is an unacceptable proposal, of an aggressiveness, of slavery for the doctors and that nothing will bring to the patients”.

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