IN A renewed effort to win higher salaries, the Nurses and Midwives Trade Union (OZSaPA) has placed around 30 billboards across Slovakia appealing to the government to keep its promises.

“Mr prime minister, try winning people over by acting rather than with promises,” the billboards read, addressing PM Robert Fico, who is currently running a massive billboard campaign of his own as a candidate in the presidential race.

Nurses and midwives decided to launch the campaign after sending a letter to Fico in December 2013, to which they have yet to receive a response. In the letter they asked the premier for an official meeting concerning their demands, OZSaPA head Monika Kavecká stated at a press briefing on February 4, as reported by the SITA newswire.

"We would like to remind [the prime minister] that during our personal meeting during the three-day camp-out protest in early October 2013, the prime minister voiced his interest in tackling the situation of at least those nurses that are employed in medical facilities under the remit of municipalities and regional governments," Kavecká said, as quoted by TASR.

The representative added that nurses and midwives are the "legislative homeless", as they are the only medical workers in Slovakia that have no legislation to govern their remuneration. Previous legislation that increased nurses’ salaries - drafted by the former government (2010-12) and passed by parliament in February 2012 - was rejected by the Constitutional Court as unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, nurses have sent their own legislative proposal to the Health Ministry.

“We haven't received any response to date, however,” Kavecká complained, adding that the claims in the newly-drafted proposal are similar to those in the original Minimum Nurse and Midwives Salary Requirements Act of 2012, TASR quoted.

The Health Ministry finds it strange that nurses launched their campaign on February 4 when they sent their legislative proposal to the ministry only on January 31.

"It's really impossible to draft an appropriate statement on the proposal in 24 hours,” ministry spokesperson Martina Lidinská said. “Changes to the remuneration of medical employees is a serious specialist problem of sector-wide importance.”

The campaign is reported to be costing €4,000. The nurses’ trade union will cover the costs with membership dues.

In its response, the Government Office said that the nurses’ initiative is beyond its comprehension.

“We're going ahead exactly in line with our discussion with the nurses last autumn,” the Government Office press department stated, as quoted by TASR. “We're aiming to modify the salaries of nurses and other medical workers working in state-run hospitals with a draft law, and we're aiming, in conjunction with regional governments (VÚCs), to secure the same conditions in (health-care) facilities run by VÚCs.”

At the same time, the Government Office said it is unable to exert the same influence over the salaries of nurses working in private hospitals.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.