Teaching hospital staff go on strike for more pay, less pressure of work


All but essential operations have been cancelled at seven of the Netherlands’ eight academic hospitals on Tuesday as medical staff go on strike and the hospitals operate a Sunday shift.

The action, said by the FNV trade union to be the biggest ever at a teaching hospital, is for higher pay and more measures to reduce the pressure at work.

FNV spokeswoman Elise Merlijn said that hospital staff realised that the strike will have a major effect because non-essential treatment which had been delayed by coronavirus is only just resuming.

Nevertheless, the pressure of work at the hospitals is creating ‘unhealthy situations for both staff and patients,’ she said.

The Netherlands’ eight teaching hospitals or UMCs have a combined workforce of 80,000 and have their own pay and conditions agreement. Radboud hospital in Nijmegen is not taking part in Tuesday’s action.

Employers have offered a one-off payment of 3.5% of annual salary in January for all staff and a pay rise of 3.5% from August next year for nursing and other mid level staff earning €3,200 to €4,200 a month. Their pay, the hospitals say, has lagged behind in recent years.

People on the lower pay scales have been offered a 1% rise.

The FNV calculates that more than 70,000 UMC workers will not be eligible for the 3.5% increase.

The government has agreed to spend an extra €675m on boosting healthcare workers pay, which will be in addition to the current offer.

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