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Doctors and nurses drive wave of strikes set to hit Portugal

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Staff Writer | February 23, 2018
Portugal looks set to be swept by a wave of strikes, demonstrations and protests, by professionals of various sectors including teachers, doctors, nurses and public prosecutors, over the coming months.
Portugal strikes
Europe   Failing to fulfil its promises
The country’s teachers have pledged more strike action for March, while doctors have said they may strike in April.

Nurses initially gave the country’s Health Ministry until the end of this week to further negotiations over pay and working conditions, or said they too will be staying home, but on Thursday morning confirmed a national two-day strike set for 22 and 23 March.

Unions representing nurses have accused the Health Ministry of “failing to fulfil its promises”, and gave it until the end of this week for negotiations to upturn, or threatened further strikes.

Among their demands are a 35-hour work week from July, overtime payment, and the payment of a €150 supplement for nurses with specialist functions, which should have come into play from January.

At the start of this year the country’s doctors had already waged similar action.

Back in January Portugal’s doctors said that they would consider strike action should their demands fail to be taken on board. A lack of progress and concrete proposals from the health ministry in the meantime has seen them reiterate the threat of action.

Two years of toing and froing and two national strikes in the meantime has done little to move negotiations along, pushing the doctors to the brink. The government is now faced with a new three-day paralysation which could be staged at the start of April.

A final round of negotiations between the doctors and the health minister has been scheduled for 8 March.