New strike hits selected hospitals
June 29, 2010
Another strike threatens to disrupt scheduled surgery and other health care services at various hospitals around Norway. This time it’s ambulance crews, receptionists and various other health care personnel who have walked off the job.
Negotiations between employers’ organization Spekter and the unions representing the hospital workers, YS and Delta, broke down during the night after the union rejected a pay and benefits offer amounting to a raise of around 3.4 percent.
“The unions’ ambitions were much too high,” Anne-Kari Bratten of Spekter told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). She contended that YS received the same offer as other public sector workers, which was accepted by the nurses’ union and some other unions representing hospital workers. “It clearly wasn’t good enough for them,” she said.
The unions have claimed they are trying to narrow the gap between men’s and women’s pay, and need higher raises for women in relatively low-paid positions.
Nearly 200 workers in Oslo, Trondheim, Tromsø, Førde, Arendal and Kristiansand have been called out on strike during the first phase of the strike. That was likely to force cancellation of scheduled treatments or operations for as many as 250 patients at the hospital in Førde alone, reported NRK.
Patients with appointments at local hospitals in the cities affected were urged to check whether they should still come in.
Bratten said the hospitals would “do all they can” to limit any danger to life and health, and would seek dispensation from the strike if necessary. Union leaders have claimed their strike will not present any such danger.