Healthcare workers discuss with Government officials demands for financial incentives, protective equipment and additional staff
Being in the front line in the fight against the new coronavirus, healthcare workers in Romania have repeatedly voiced their dissatisfaction with salaries and working conditions. The trade unionists of the SANITAS Federation took to the streets on Tuesday and picketed the Government headquarters, as a sign of protest against the authorities' lack of reaction to the requests for financial, human and logistical support submitted to the Executive.
One week ago, dozens of health and welfare unionists staged a protest called the 'Exhaustion Rally', dissatisfied with what they called the authorities' 'incoherent crisis strategies' in tackling the pandemic. On Tuesday, the leaders of the SANITAS Federation had a meeting with government representatives to whom they presented their requests.
Iulian Pope, First Vice President of the Sanitas Federation: "The main claim remains the lack of concern, on the government's part, for the situation of healthcare workers and I am talking here about the physical and mental exhaustion of the medical staff who have been in the front line since March, I am talking about freezing jobs, I am talking about the lack of adequate and sufficient protective materials during this period and about a predictability that the government does not offer to health workers at the moment. Of course, there are also salary claims."
After discussions with the leaders of the SANITAS Federation, the Government representatives assured them that they would draw up normative acts by which the 30% rise and the epidemic bonus, ranging between 50 and 85%, would be granted to all the personnel in the health and welfare fields who work with patients confirmed as having Covid-19.
In turn, the leaders of the ambulance unions canceled the Japanese strike that should have started on Wednesday, after, on Tuesday, they talked with Prime Minister Ludovic Orban and with the ministers of health and public finance about their demands.
Gheorghe Chiş, president of the 'Ambulanta' National Trade Union Federation: "Since August 15, the ambulance staff has not benefited from one single leu as incentive or bonus for working in pandemic conditions. Other health-care units, however, have benefited from that and we discussed that issue. We hope that the legislation will be implemented as of November 1, and that a 25% increase will be granted for the operative staff of the Ambulance services. Another sensitive issue raised was the issue of a nurse's salary. Ambulance nurses are not paid in keeping with the activity they carry out".
The trade unionists obtained the granting of a pandemic pay rise of 25% and an additional 1,000 medical staff for the Ambulance services. The new posts will be occupied following a contest, for an unlimited period of time, and they will be distributed equally in all counties. (M. Ignatescu)