Turkish health workers on one day strike for demands

Turkish health workers on one day strike for demands

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
Turkish health workers on one day strike for demands

Health workers are marching in the national Helath Workers’ Day in Adana. They demanded increase of wages and improvement in work conditions. AA photo

Health workers went on a one day strike on March 14 to voice demands that they want to be met, on the same day that they celebrated the national Health Workers’ Day.

The Turkish Doctors Union (TBB) and the Chamber of Istanbul Doctors declared in a statement that they would not see patients except emergency services and released details of their 10 “urgent demands.”
Health workers also staged marches for their rights in several cities across the country. A group of doctors and health workers gathered in front of Ankara Numune Hospital and marched to the Health Ministry in Ankara to issue a press statement.

Another group of health workers gathered in front of Istanbul’s Çapa Medicine Faculty and chanted slogans, “hospitals are public, they cannot be sold,” and “this is just the beginning. The struggle will continue.”

Dr. Özdemir Aktan, the head of TBB, said in a statement that problems were so large that they were preventing patients’ right to health.

“The laws are preventing doctors from performing their jobs. They are being threatened [with losing their jobs] and their work conditions are getting worse,” said Aktan. “The wages of all health workers, including pensions, should be doubled. Wages must be regulated in line with the criteria that will allow health workers to live in humanitarian conditions by only working in one job,” said a statement from the TTB.

The statement also demanded the abolition of the “performance related pay” system in the sector, saying that it “increases competition instead of solidarity” between health workers.

The TTB called on the Health Ministry to take the necessary measures to improve the working conditions of health workers and also to fight against violence targeting health workers. “Amendments to the Turkish Penal Code must be made to decrease cases of violence against health workers,” said the statement.

Doctors also demanded that the period of each qualified examination must be no shorter than 15 minutes, and that equal rights for all health workers be realized, regardless of whether they work in the private or public sector. “Subcontractor practices” should be abolished in the sector, the doctors also demanded in the statement.