ZAGREB, October 3, 2019 – Several hundred nurses protested outside Government House on Thursday disgruntled with a recently signed appendix to their Collective Agreement and are seeking a 25% increase on their base wage.
They are unsatisfied with the appendix to the collective agreement that was recently signed by health sector unions and the government providing a 7% wage increase as of 1 September.
“That literally means an increase of 50 kuna for each employee,” the nurses said in a Facebook post in which they announced the protest and underlined their demands: a 25% increase of the base wage, returning supplements for each year of seniority, and new employment.
“Nurses are the pillar of the health sector,” “A billion for Agrokor, a ticket for Ireland for nurses,” are just some of the banners carried at the protest rally.
Addressing protesting nurses, Sanda Alić, one of the protest’s initiators, warned of the poor state the system is in and the poor working conditions nurses work in.
“People are emigrating to find work because you forced them to. That is why each of us here works for two people. For how long?” Alić asked.
She underscored that attempts were made over the past few days to keep nurses quiet yet they make up for most of the health sector, 30,000 staff, and that they will not allow a handful of people to decide on their fate.
The protest’s organiser Sandra Kolak stressed that for years it has been said that there is a shortage of 12,000 nurses.
That has been said by chambers, unions, trade organisations, the minister, yet all these years we have had a ban on hiring. Recently job vacancies were advertised but who wants to work here when they can earn three times as much in Germany, said Kolak.
Health Minister Milan Kujundžić earlier on Thursday commented on the protest, saying that he could understand their wish for higher wages but that the government had increased their wages as much as it could for the time being.
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