Doctors at public hospitals decided Tuesday to call off a strike they had planned for this coming Thursday, saying they were willing to give their employer one last chance.

Physicians who are members of Pasyki and Pasydy trade unions held a meeting with the executive director of the state health services organisation (Okypy), their employer. The meeting was intended to stave off a 24-hour warning strike the doctors had planned for Thursday.

Following the discussions, the doctors said that as a gesture of goodwill they would not go ahead with a strike this week. During the meeting, they submitted a series of questions to Okypy and would await a response in writing.

If the response is deemed unsatisfactory, the doctors said, they would proceed with strikes on July 2 and 3.

The dispute revolves around the doctor’s pay. They claim that Okypy has ‘cheated’ on reimbursing them for work done in 2023 by arbitrarily interpreting an agreement in place that concerns remuneration based on an incentives system.

Doctors receive two types of incentives – horizontal (given to all) and vertical (based on performance).

Overtime is part of the horizontal incentives.

The dispute over pay has been simmering for some time. Weeks ago, the spokesman for Okypy had angered state doctors by stating their salaries were as high as those of physicians working in the private sector.

In fact, argued the spokesman, overall state doctors are better off than their private-sector counterparts: whereas the wages are about the same, doctors with a private practice have to pay out of pocket for staff and other operating expenses.

Hitting back at the time, Pasyki asked why then are public-sector doctors transferring to the private sector.