SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Hospital workers nationwide plan to stop all non-emergency work on November 20 in support of their campaign for a better pay deal.
The four big healthcare unions FNV, FBZ, Nu’91 and CNV are campaigning for a 5% pay rise and a supplement for staff who are called up to work at the last minute. They also want measures to reduce the pressure at work.
It is the first time that hospitals nationwide have planned to close their doors to all but emergency cases, the FNV union said. The changes are needed to make sure the profession continues to attract enough new staff and to curb the drop-out rate, the unions say.
The pay deal covers 200,000 workers at 83 hospitals and the unions expect around half will of hospitals will take part in the strike. Academic hospitals fall under a different pay agreement and will not be affected.
Talks on a new pay deal broke down in June and since July workers have taken part in sporadic works-to-rule and strikes. The employers have offered a 4% pay rise in 2020 and 2021 and an increase in the irregular hours bonus, which the unions have rejected for not going far enough.
Employers also want to cut health insurance contributions and cut sick pay, the unions say. The government has refused to make more money available to boost nursing and support staff pay.
It says that healthcare costs must be kept under control and that the total hospital bill may not go up by more than 1.7%, despite a 2.5% rise in demand.