NEWS IN SHORT

Health care unions rally for more money

THE HEALTH care trade unions are calling on the government to follow its own agenda and increase funding for the health care sector.

THE HEALTH care trade unions are calling on the government to follow its own agenda and increase funding for the health care sector.

About 20 members of Slovak Health Care and Social Services Trade Union (SOZ) rallied in front of the Slovak Parliament building on November 27, asking the government to increase the health insurance contributions the state pays to its policyholders.

The agenda pledged to increase the contributions by one percentage point, to five percent of the average monthly wage. However, the government only did so for the first four months of 2007, before returning the level to four percent, the SITA newswire wrote.

The level of the health insurance contributions is scheduled to be 4.5 percent in 2008, but the union says this increase is too small. SOZ claims that low salaries are pushing doctors and nurses to move abroad for work.

The salaries of health sector employees are growing slower than the average wage in the national economy, SOZ president Anton Szálay said. The last time health care salaries exceeded the average monthly wage was in 1992.

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