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Polish doctors on strike

From france24.com :-

Polish doctors striking for major pay hikes decided Friday to beef up their week-long industrial action, after union delegates walked out of talks with the country's health minister.

The OZZL physicians' union, which complains that even cleaners are paid more than doctors in Poland, said the strikers would now refuse to fill in hospital documents.

It also announced that by May 30 it would carry out a poll of hospital doctors to see how many are planning to quit the profession.

Since Monday, the striking physicians have been refusing to perform non-urgent medical services.

In children's hospitals the action has been limited to a one-hour work stoppage per day.

Opinion surveys have shown that 60 percent of Poles back the doctors' demands.

Earlier Friday, OZZL representatives walked out of talks with Health Minister Zbigniew Religa after just 15 minutes.

"We did it to defend the dignity of doctors," Krzysztof Bukiel, president of the OZZL, told reporters.

The union accused Religa of trying to water down the talks by inviting labour representatives from other branches of the medical profession, including Poland's poorly-paid nurses, to take part.

As of Thursday, the health ministry said, 21 percent of Polish hospitals had been affected. The union put the figure at 40 percent.

Polish physicians are seeking a significant hike from their current rate of 9.9 zlotys (2.60 euros, 3.48 dollars) an hour -- which for many means a take-home pay of just 1,500 zlotys (395 euros, 528 dollars) a month.

The doctors complain that they make less than cleaners, for whom the going rate in Warsaw is around 12 zlotys an hour.

They say that they end up having to do back-to-back shifts simply to make ends meet, and that the resulting exhaustion poses a potential risk to patients.

The OZZL is campaigning for hefty pay rises, for example seeking 7,500 zlotys a month for specialists.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski earlier this week blasted the union's demands as "totally unrealistic."

The health ministry has instead offered pay rises of 15 percent per year over the coming three years.

The doctors' union has countered that pay rates for other professions are rising faster, and that the government proposal will therefore not bridge the gap.

The doctors, who staged a similar nationwide protest last year, also say low wages are fuelling a brain drain.

Physicians seeking higher pay notably head to Britain, Ireland and Sweden, which opened their labour markets in 2004 when Poland and seven other former communist countries joined the European Union.

According to Konstanty Radziwill, president of the Polish chamber of physicians, an estimated six percent of the Poland's 100,000-strong medical corps has left over the past three years -- including 17 percent of the country's anaesthetists.

Re: Polish doctors on strike

Many teachers also went on strike today. A one day action.

Re: Polish doctors on strike

Poland may face nationwide strikes

WARSAW, Poland, May 30 (UPI) -- The number of wage strikes in Poland's state-run sector is growing, with fears complete nationwide walkouts could be coming, Polish Radio said Wednesday.
Up to now, the government has been talking only about money in its dealing with each of the various groups on strike. However, the government should work out reforms that would clarify the future of state sector employees, an analyst told Polish Radio Wednesday.

Michal Boni, international labor expert and a member of the Polish Solidarity trade union, said the government should organize a round table for negotiations.

In a commentary on the recent strikes, state-run Polish Radio recounted a string of strikes in state-run institutions that included protests by hospital nurses, civilians employed by the military, police and miners, and ongoing protests by physicians and school teachers.