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Nurses strike planned for Wednesday averted (update 2)

Nurses strike over pay in 2015. The government finally gave in on Friday

The state health services organisation (Okypy) and nurses’ unions reached an initial agreement on Tuesday for the hiring of a total of 305 nursing staff, averting a 24-hour strike planned for Wednesday.

Following an emergency meeting, head of nurses’ union Pasyno Theodoros Pentelis said Okypy accepted the union’s proposal to reduce the amount of time needed to recruit nurses.

Nurses had said the decision to strike was taken after Okypy was perceived as dragging its feet over the issue of personnel shortages in state facilities.

Pentelis said Okypy agreed to hire 160 nurses for now, and another 145 between September and February.

Earlier, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said: “Everyone’s common goal is to serve patients and these practices punish patients who opted to be served by the public hospitals”.

The minister said after his intervention on June 4, it had been decided that the two sides carry out a review to identify the real needs in all clinics, including the psychiatric hospital.

This was completed on June 11.

The minister said he was informed that through dialogue, the two sides agreed on the recruitment of 295 nurses – 150 to cover existing services, of whom 63 for the urgent needs and 87 for new services depending on the operation of the new clinics like the new ICU and transplant department in Nicosia.

Ioannou said there are other ways to protest before resorting to extreme measures.

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