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New bill to extend nursing contracts (Updated)

A PASYNO demonstration last week

The health ministry is expected to table soon a bill providing for six-month contracts for nurses to replace the much shorter ones that had been on offer so far and for giving all nurses working at state hospitals for 30 months open-ended employment contracts, the head of the House labour committee Andreas Fakontis said on Monday.
The bill was part of a wider discussion among committee members of the problems working at state hospitals face.
Following the meeting, Fakontis said that one third of employees at the state hospitals are temps or contract staff.
Out of 700 doctors, 300 are on 15-day contracts, while 920 of the 2,400 nurses are employed as temps, which creates “huge problems in the operation of public hospitals”, Fakontis said.
He added that the committee was reassured by representatives of the health ministry that it would soon table a new bill extending nurses’ contracts.
He also urged the government to look into the issue of the 10 per cent deduction off the salaries of newly employed nurses, as at the moment there are nurses working for eight years and they still have 10 per cent slashed from their salaries each month.
The bill comes after threats of industrial action by the nursing branch of the of state employees union PASYDY which culminated in a meeting earlier in the month between union members and government officials. At the meeting it was agreed for the union’s long standing demands to be granted in exchange for PASYDY accepting the need to make state hospitals autonomous, which is pre-requisite for the implementation of the National Health Scheme.
The agreement however did not satisfy nurses union PASYNO whose members went on a two-day 12-hour strike last week because they said they were not included in the dialogue.
Last night PASYNO called on its members to vote in support for an indefinite strike starting March 15.
General meetings will take place throughout the week and voting will take place on March 7.
According to the union announcement, the moves are due to nurses’ demands to be assessed – and paid – as scientific personnel on higher wages.

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