Disappointed Nurses Return To Work
Nurses and other health professionals returned to work today with a sense of disappointment after their six week long strike was ended late afternoon on Wednesday with both sides in the dispute reaching a pay settlement.
The wage agreement , which amounts to a wage increase of 0.5 percent more than was on offer to staff before the strike, was met with anger by some members of the healthcare workers union , Vårdförbundet, who’d been asking for 15 percent. One nurse asked by public service radio Ekot how she felt, said she was embarassed that the mediators offer had been accepted by her union. Another nurse said she’d be leaving the union.
The agreement, between Vårdförbundet and the employers organisations , is for three years, and from June will see wages increase by four percent in 2008, three percent in 2009 and two percent in 2010. In effect, pay packets will rise by 167 US dollars in the first year.
From 2009, the minimum wage in the sector will be raised from 20,000 kronor a month to 21, 000, that’s around 3,500 US dollars. The nurses had been demanding 22 thousand.
After the settlement was reached, the main Union negotiator Margereta Öhberg said the offer contained the possibilities for further increases through local salary negotiations.
Over 7,000 nurses, midwvives and radiographers went on strike during the six week period and in that time, more than 13,000 operations were cancelled according to the employers,the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.
From today, staff in hospital will be busy finding new times for those who missed operations.
A doctor in Gothenburg told Ekot that it would be difficult, especially with the holiday season approaching, and that they wouldn’t really know the consequences until the autumn.