Cyprus Mail

Unions in spat over nurses’ strike

By Evie Andreou
Civil servants union PASYDY took nurses union PASYNO to task on Wednesday for going on a two-day 12-hour strike and described their tactics as self-seeking.
In an announcement, PASYDY said that PASYNO members’ strike measures which took place on Monday and Tuesday, were irregular and blamed the union for “taking advantage of PASYDY’s achievements”.
The strike measures caused the cancellation of scheduled surgeries at the Paphos, Limassol and Paralimni state hospitals since the majority of their nursing staff there are PASYNO members, while a number of surgeries were also cancelled at the Nicosia and Larnaca state hospitals. Skeleton staff were handling emergencies.
On Tuesday the head of PASYDY nurses’ branch Prodromos Argyrides urged PASYNO members to remain patient in pursuing their demands from the government.
But by Wednesday however, PASYDY was openly criticising PASYNO for overlooking the consequences of the strike on the public.
PASYDY said that the recent agreement it achieved for the immediate unfreezing of 185 nursing positions and which put an end to the “job insecurity of hundreds of doctors, pharmacists, nurses and all those colleagues working under the same status, paved the way for discussions for all other outstanding issues in the health sector and was welcomed by those affected”.
PASYDY criticised PASYNO for go ahead with its own strike action partly to demand the issue of upgrading nursing school qualifications to university level.
“PASYDY has always been a strong supporter in the struggles of nurses for improvement of their employment terms,” it said.
It added that in 2002 PASYDY won increased pay for nurses and between 2006 and 2009 achieved a “significant increase” in the numbers of promotion positions.
As regards the upgrade of nursing school qualifications, it said, it was PASYDY that had the issue added to the mixed staff committee’s agenda for discussion back in 2010, but since the issue meant an increase of state expenses, it was deemed that it could not be implemented at that point due to the economic recession.
“PASYNO is taking advantage of this vital issue in an attempt to make it their primary request, demanding its immediate implementation at the worst timing,” PASYDY said.
PASYNO on Tuesday warned their members were considering further strike action because they did not recognise the deal PASYDY reached with the health ministry earlier in the month over the implementation of the National Health Scheme (NHS) and hospital autonomy, because PASYNO was not included in the dialogue.

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