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Doctors declare strike alert after government okays legislative changes

The Slovak government passed the measures prepared by parliament’s health committee to ensure the rise in doctors’ salaries and to amend the Labour Code on December 12 but the doctors’ trade union rejected the changes prepared by the government as incomplete and again declared a strike alert.

The Slovak government passed the measures prepared by parliament’s health committee to ensure the rise in doctors’ salaries and to amend the Labour Code on December 12 but the doctors’ trade union rejected the changes prepared by the government as incomplete and again declared a strike alert.

During a press conference held on December 10, the head of the trade union, LOZ, complained that the government and parliament had not begun fulfilling the demands included in the Memorandum signed by the doctors and the government last week, the TASR newswire reported.

“We’re vigilant and if they [government and parliament] don’t meet their commitments immediately and in full, we’re ready to act again,” Marián Kollár, the union president said, as quoted by TASR, adding that the transformation of hospitals into joint-stock companies must be halted so that there are no lingering doubts on this issue.

The LOZ had also called on Prime Minister Iveta Radičová to reject the amendment prepared by the committee that was passed by parliament on December 12. Trade unionists say that the amendment, which primarily pertain their salaries, does not meet the criteria set in the memorandum signed between LOZ and government on December 3, which actually ended the protest action. LOZ also challenged Radičová not to rid herself of responsibility and to try to find the political agreement over the issues included in the memorandum, such as observing the rules set by the Labour Code and transformation of hospitals.

“It is not about our salaries, though also in this issue the government does not count with the increase in the minimum wage claims as of January 2013, but about the fundamental issues, such as having available and quality health care,” LOZ stated, as quoted by TASR.

At the moment, the transformation of hospitals into joint-stock companies is only suspended, though in the Memorandum the government promised to find how to stop the whole process. Trade unions dislike the fact that the Health Ministry has not said how it proposed to do so.

The only politician who has already filed a legislative proposal in parliament is former health minister Richard Raši (Smer), the Sme daily reported.
Source: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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