Staff at Limassol’s general hospital suspended its 12-hour strike at lunchtime on Wednesday, giving the health ministry one week to meet their demands.
During a meeting between trade unions and the ministry it was decided to establish procedures to fill new positions which were promised by the government to alleviate personnel shortages.
The two sides agreed to proceed immediately with solving the issue before the summer, so that summer leave can be granted to the staff without affecting the functioning of the hospital.
Unions warned if their demands were not met within a week they might stage a 24-hour work stoppage.
In the morning, strikers were gathered outside the entrance to the hospital’s first aid department.
Labour unions said they supported the strike, while the health ministry said it had been a premature action on the grounds that the shortages were in the process of being resolved.
The health ministry said it would proceed with its plans, which includes filling 38 vacancies.
“The consultation of the ministry with the union has not yet been completed and therefore any decision on strike measures is considered premature at this stage,” an announcement said.
According to the ministry, the underlying problems do not stem from inadequate staffing but mostly from accumulated sick leave and the placement of a large number of workers in lighter jobs than the work for which they were recruited.
The strike included clerks, cleaning staff, ward assistants and messengers while skeleton staff was working in surgeries, the ICU, and A&E.