Hundreds of surgeries postponed for hospital workers' strike tomorrow

Banner calling for a better collective bargaining agreement for hospital workers hanging in the OLVG Oost hospital, 29 July 2019
Banner calling for a better collective bargaining agreement for hospital workers hanging in the OLVG Oost hospital, 29 July 2019Photo: NL Times

For the first time in Dutch history, there will be a nationwide strike among hospital workers on Thursday. They are striking for higher salaries and better working conditions. 

The vast majority of hospitals are expected to take part in the strike, excluding the university hospitals which fall under a different collective labor agreement. A total of 83 hospitals, 32 outpatient clinics, and four rehabilitation centers will be running on so-called Sunday service. 

That means that everyone working in non-emergency departments will not be working. The strike affects radiology departments, nursing departments, facility services, laboratories, surgeries and dozens of other services. Appointments at any of these departments on strike day will have to be moved.

RTL Nieuws estimates that hundreds of surgeries and thousands of appointments were postponed or canceled due to the strike. 

The collective labor agreement for hospitals expired on March 31st and affects over 200 thousand hospital employees. The unions are demanding a structural wage increase and better agreements about working and rest times in the new agreement. They expect that around 150 thousand hospital employees will take part in the strike.

The employers - the hospitals - say that the figures regarding participating hospitals and workers are greatly exaggerated, according to RTL. 

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