Hospitals nationwide only treating emergencies as healthcare workers strike

General hospitals throughout the Netherlands are running on so-called Sunday service today as hospital workers strike for better employment conditions. Only emergency care will still be provided. According to the trade unions, around 75 percent of all general hospital employees will strike at 119 locations.

The university hospitals are not participating in this strike, because they fall under a different collective bargaining agreement.

The collective labor agreement for general hospitals, which covers around 200 thousand hospital workers, expired in March and negotiations are deadlocked. The trade unions want a structural salary increase of five percent and an extra allowance on wages if employees are called up to work at the last minute. They also want measures to relieve the workload, and better agreements around work and rest times. 

Lisett Carovigno, a nurse at the Zuiderland hospital in Sittard-Geleen, told broadcaster NOS that this strike is absolutely necessary. "We must think about the future, because if it continues in this way, then nobody will want to work in healthcare anymore."

Colleague Wendy de Groof agrees. You live for caring for patients, but I think it's great that we are finally making a fist."