Workers Threaten to Strike as Hospital Plans to Reduce Benefits
The board of the West Tallinn Central Hospital said it intends to scrap a nine-year collective agreement, stripping employees of several types of compensation.
Among the benefits to be affected are the jubilee bonus that the hospital had for years paid its more senior employees, five additional days of vacation for doctors and nurses, and overtime pay for midnight shift hours that was higher than the national requirement.
The new agreement envisioned by hospital management would scrap the first two benefits and cut the third from 50 percent to 25 percent.
A representative for the doctors' union said employees are prepared to go on strike.
In another recent health care dispute, the Medical Association said the Social Affairs Ministry had not held up its end of a collective agreement that ended a major strike last year. The doctors said that 7.6 million euros per year, including 3.6 million euros in long-term nursing care, was not added to the price of bed-days and that essentially the Health Insurance Fund owes hospitals 6.6 million euros for 10 months of work. On June 7, the Health Insurance Fund complied with the doctors' demands.