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Doctors keep strike alert in place, demand Uhliarik's dismissal

It's premature to talk about calling off the strike alert, as the legislation passed in parliament hasn't yet come into effect, Doctors Trade Unions' Association (LOZ) vice-chair Peter Visolajský said on Thursday, December 15.

It's premature to talk about calling off the strike alert, as the legislation passed in parliament hasn't yet come into effect, Doctors Trade Unions' Association (LOZ) vice-chair Peter Visolajský said on Thursday, December 15.

According to Visolajský, the strike alert will be called off once President Ivan Gašparovič signs the new law and it has been published in the official Collection of Laws. "We aren't worried, but we've learnt our lesson and feel that it's responsible of us to wait a couple of days," Visolajský said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

LOZ representatives on Thursday again called on Gašparovič and Prime Minister Iveta Radičová to dismiss Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik. The reason, according to Visolajský, is some of Uhliarik's recent statements, which he called "nonsensical". Visolajský continued that if Radičová does not dismiss Uhliarik, as LOZ says she promised to do at one of her meetings with doctors' representatives, Gašparovič should do so.

Gašparovič sees no sense in recalling Uhliarik from his post three months before the general election, the president's spokesman Marek Trubač said in reaction. According to Trubač, Uhliarik's ouster would make no sense also in light of the fact that parliament on Wednesday voted to approve legislative changes in line with a memorandum agreed between LOZ and the government in early December, thereby complying with LOZ's demands. Uhliarik's premature departure would not be beneficial in economic terms, either, said the president via his spokesman, pointing to the severance payments that are granted to outgoing officials and their replacements, whether in the cabinet or parliament.

Radičová called on doctors to dismiss their own representatives in response to the LOZ leaders' demands. She stated that the way in which LOZ officials acted during recent negotiations and some of their public appearances are among the reasons why they should be dismissed. According to the her, the government has met all the demands included in the memorandum signed by LOZ and the government. She also commented on an earlier LOZ statement in which the union accused the government of having betrayed it. "There won't be any further negotiations unless they apologise to me," she said.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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