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Doctors’ settlement to be addressed via fast-tracked legislative process

Parliament will discuss measures prepared by the health parliamentary committee to implement the settlement agreed with Slovak hospital doctors after an industrial dispute earlier this month. The measure, to increase doctors’ salaries and amend the Labour Code, will proceed via a fast-tracked legislative process. Earlier this week the trade unions warned that the current version of the draft law was unacceptable and declared a strike alert, the TASR newswire reported.

Parliament will discuss measures prepared by the health parliamentary committee to implement the settlement agreed with Slovak hospital doctors after an industrial dispute earlier this month. The measure, to increase doctors’ salaries and amend the Labour Code, will proceed via a fast-tracked legislative process. Earlier this week the trade unions warned that the current version of the draft law was unacceptable and declared a strike alert, the TASR newswire reported.

Though the draft amendment to the act on health-care providers was supported by MPs for the opposition Smer party, they criticised several measures, saying that the government should have sought solutions earlier. They stressed that the proposal did not include the doctors’ requirement that the transformation of hospitals into joint-stock companies be scrapped.

“If the transformation is not cancelled, the doctors’ basic demand won’t be met,” said former health minister, Richard Raši, as quoted by TASR, during the debate on the memorandum. Smer leader Robert Fico added that if the coalition does not halt the transformation, Smer would not support the amendment in its second reading.

Former labour minister and current MP for the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) Ľudovít Kaník said that the transformation had been halted by President Ivan Gašparovič, so the parliament could not cancel something that was not being carried out.

The trade unions also objected to other measures included in the draft law, such as a two-phase instead of a three-phase increase in their salaries, which was originally included in the memorandum signed between the government and trade unions on December 3.

“Agreements should be fulfilled or the social peace which was to be reached by meeting the requirements in the memorandum would be endangered,” said deputy chair of the Doctors’ Trade Unions (LOZ), Ján Sýkora, as quoted by TASR, during the discussion over the amendment held in parliament. He pointed out that if politicians do not meet the requirements of doctors, they will have to face serious results, including the mass departure of doctors from hospitals.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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