The staff of the Catharina Hospital, the Anna Hospital and the Máxima Medical Center to strike in mid-March. Hospital staff demand higher wages and better working conditions. The hospitals in the Eindhoven region are therefore joining the national strike.
The strike happened after the hospital umbrella organization NVZ ignored an ultimatum from the unions FNV, CNV and NU’91. According to the trade union FNV, more than fifty hospitals have indicated they want to go on strike. This includes the MMC, the Anna Hospital and the Catharina Hospital.
The care employees do not completely stop working, so there will be less staff available, like a Sunday shift. Non-emergency care is therefore not provided. It is not yet clear when the strike will start.
“I find it inconceivable that hospital employees have to fight again for a decent collective labour agreement,” says Elise Merlijn, director of FNV Zorg & Welzijn. “The hospital staffs are available day and night for the patient. The least you can expect is that the employer is ready to accommodate employees’ basic demands.” The employees and management disagree on the flexibility of schedules and reimbursements. The employers’ organization wants to give the staff only a thirteen percent wage increase over two years – about 6.5 percent per year. The unions naturally want the high inflation to be corrected and are aiming for a 10 percent increase per year.
“They simply need a good collective labour agreement,” says Rob Koster of the FBZ employees’ association, who is also taking part in the strike. “Healthcare workers can only provide good quality care if they are paid well and can do their work under good working conditions. Protection against excessive work pressure is therefore essential so as to prevent employees from leaving the care sector and the workload increases even further. Good working conditions are therefore more important than ever.”
The hospital strike is the umpteenth strike to be announced in a short time. Earlier today, it was announced that bus drivers would also go on strike this week, while yesterday, it was announced that employees of the social work company Neos would join a nationwide strike.
Translated by: Shanthi Ramani