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Uruguayan health workers to strike over pay

HEALTH workers in Uruguay are to stage a 24-hour national stoppage in defence of pay and conditions, unions said today as the country struggles to cope with the coronavirus crisis. 

Doctors, nurses and other staff of private hospitals and emergency services will walk out on November 25. 

The strike was announced after talks between two unions, the National Medical Union (SMU) and the Medical Federation of the Interior (FEMI), and health bosses collapsed last week. 

The SMU lamented “the lack of progress in the negotiation with the wage council of the private sector,” saying that its members had been left with no choice but to take industrial action. 

The union said that guidelines proposed by the private sector and the government were “tremendously insufficient and represent a setback in the working conditions achieved in previous agreements,” including a “loss of wages, labour rights and quality in healthcare services.”

“In the pandemic scenario, it is not acceptable to try to cut rights and wages. This weakens the health system, causing the loss of quality of care for the population,” said SMU national president Federico Preve.

Minister of Labour and Social Security Pablo Mieres claimed that the government wanted to negotiate, but had so far failed to reach agreement with the unions. 

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