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Greek Health Workers Announce 24-Hour Strike on Thursday

October 20, 2021

ATHENS — Doctors working in public hospitals, health centres, regional surgeries and the ambulance service throughout the country have announced a 24-hour strike on Thursday. The strike was called by the Federation of Hospital Doctors’ Unions of Greece (OENGE) over financial and other demands.

Also participating in the strike is the Panhellenic Federation of Public Hospital Employees, with a work stoppage from 8:00 until 15:00 in Attica and a 24-hour strike in regional hospitals.

At 8:30 in the morning, the union federation will organise a rally at Mavilis Square in Athens, which will be followed by a march to the prime minister’s offices at the Maximos Mansion, Parliament and the health ministry.

According to OENGE, one reason for the strike are the “tragic staff shortages in hospitals” and the fact that the waiting list for a simple appointment and surgeries in many cases exceeds a year, forcing patients to resort to private healthcare.

It said that the government’s plans for the “new National Health System” aim to further reduce permanent staff, a further reduction in the number of beds with the closure and mergers of public hospitals and clinics, as well as further cuts to services provided to patients, such as drugs, treatments and diagnostic exams.

The two union federations are demanding adequate funding of public health units, hiring of staff, permanent jobs for contract staff and abolition of a measure suspending unvaccinated healthcare workers.

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