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Healthcare unions to take discrimination complaint to Brussels

Representatives of the Slovak Union of Workers in Healthcare and Social Services (SOZ) plan to attend a session of the Economic and Social Council in Brussels in order to inform its members about the differences in remuneration among Slovak healthcare workers, the SITA newswire reported. “Our task is to draw attention to discrimination against employees of healthcare facilities which are not administered by the state,” said SOZ President Anton Szálay. He did not rule out the prospect of protest rallies later being staged across Slovakia, but did not want to discuss whether the union was planning a strike.

Representatives of the Slovak Union of Workers in Healthcare and Social Services (SOZ) plan to attend a session of the Economic and Social Council in Brussels in order to inform its members about the differences in remuneration among Slovak healthcare workers, the SITA newswire reported. “Our task is to draw attention to discrimination against employees of healthcare facilities which are not administered by the state,” said SOZ President Anton Szálay. He did not rule out the prospect of protest rallies later being staged across Slovakia, but did not want to discuss whether the union was planning a strike.

“We realise that Brussels will not solve our problems in Slovakia,” he said, adding: “We have exhausted every possibilities in Slovakia.” He also mentioned talks with Prime Minister Robert Fico, Health Minister Ivan Valentovič and health insurance company Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa (VšZP) Director General Zuzana Zvolenská. “The Prime Minister indirectly promised to make sure that our demands are fulfilled,” he said.

SOZ points out that while the average monthly salary was Sk14,839 in faculty hospitals last year, the average salary in healthcare facilities administered by municipalities or counties was Sk11,891, and Sk11,788 in healthcare facilities which have been transformed into joint-stock companies. Trade unionists blame principally VšZP for this situation. They say that the health insurer has a different attitude towards faculty hospitals and the remaining hospitals, which are members of the Association of Hospitals (ANS). Referring to SOZ talks with ANS regarding a pay rise, Szálay thinks “Similar to last year, negotiations will probably have to be moved forward with the help of a mediator.” Trade unionists demand that state health insurance payments for economically inactive inhabitants should be raised to five percent. Moreover, they want to see the basic salary of physicians reach three times the average salary in Slovakia and the basic salary of nurses to reach at least one-and-a-half times the average salary by 2010. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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