The days January 25 and 26 the second major strike of doctors in Catalonia in the last four years took place. And, unless the union Metges de Catalunya and Salut reach an agreement today, the strike will continue, at least, this February 1, 2 and 3.
In 2018 the physicians of the primary care went on strike for four days to denounce the precariousness and the working conditions. But this time the strike is also affecting the hospitals. These are the five keys to understand the reason for this mobilization
What is the main stumbling block in the agreement?
The union Metges de Catalunya, the majority among physicians, has been negotiating with Salut since Friday to call off the strike that continues this week. Until now, there was a double stumbling block: one assistance and another economical.
On the one hand, Metges de Catalunya claims to put an economic límite to the agendas of the doctors, while Salut opts for self-organization.
On the other hand, moreover, the union is demanding a direct salary supplement in the payroll of physicians.The company was not included in the payroll of other health care workers, without going through a negotiating table. The ‘conselleria’ sees this salary increase as fair, but asked to go through a negotiating table as the rest of the sanitary.
At what point is the negotiation?
At the present time, both parties are currently negotiating. Yesterday afternoon, the secretary general of Metges de Catalunya, Xavier Lleonart, assured that the positions were increasingly close and that today would be addressed “more technical” issues.
Thus, while they have agreed on the contents of the agreement, both sides are negotiating the legal framework in which to accommodate the guild’s demands.
What services are affected by the strike?
While the 2018 strike only affected the primary care centers (CAPs), this time also to the hospitals. Thus, they are participating in the strike all the health centers and hospitals of the Catalan public health system, in which they work in total about 25,000 physicians.
Last week’s strike had a follow up 70% according to Metges de Catalunya and 30% according to Salut. A considerable standstill that was particularly noticeable in the emergencies of the CAPs.
For similar reasons as in 2018: impossible agendas in which (especially in primary care) there is no time to visit the patient in a correct manner and for some working conditions, in the opinion of the union, improvable.
Also because there is a lack of physicians, a problem which also suffer from other countries in Europe. Although it is true that in Spain many physicians go to work abroad. in search of better salaries, the truth is that there is a whole retirement of ‘boomer’ physicians who are retiring and for whom there is no replacement because the Administration has not planned well. This is a demographic crisis. In Catalonia some 9,000 doctors will retire in the next decade.
Will there be more strike days?
If no agreement is reached today, there will be a medical strike in Catalonia too this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (February 1, 2 and 3). In addition, although the union has not specified the days, it plans to make. more stoppages this February in case the negotiation goes badly.