Cyprus Mail

Healthcare ‘breakthrough’ after nurses’ deal reached

In what seems like a breakthrough in industrial relations across the healthcare sector, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades announced on Monday the unfreezing of 185 nursing positions at state hospitals, as well as the introduction of employment contracts of at least six months, replacing much shorter contracts that had been on offer thus far.

At a news conference on Monday, Georgiades, flanked by civil servants union boss Glafcos Hadjipetrou, undersecretary to the president Constantinos Petrides, and head of the joint staff committee Christos Patsalides, announced agreement with union PASYDY over some of its long-standing demands.

Among them was the unfreezing of 185 nursing positions, the extension of minimum-term contracts to six-months – as opposed to contracts as short as 15 days previously offered – and giving all nurses working at state hospitals for 30 months open-ended employment contracts.

Additionally, it was agreed that the above arrangements are carried over during the transition into rendering state hospitals financially and administratively autonomous, and any outstanding issues to be discussed in a “constructive and creative spirit”.

According to Georgiades, the deal allows 185 temporary nurses to be made permanent, while the introduction of the six-month contract minimum “ends a distortion that did not allow for the proper operation of state hospitals”.

The finance minister thanked PASYDY and Hadjipetrou personally, for the “very constructive” stance the union held.

“Today’s decision shows that with dialogue and cooperation, and certainly not conflict and denial, we can work out solutions that can serve the public’s needs and substantially improve labour issues,” Georgiades said.

Hadjipetrou said the deal is of great importance to employees in the healthcare sector, as it ends insecurity for a large number of doctors, nurses, and other staff.

PASYDY, he added, has fully accepted the need to make state hospitals autonomous.

“On behalf of PASYDY, I welcome the deal and express the hope that its implementation will strengthen state hospitals and staff them appropriately to cater to the needs of the public,” he said.

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