Health care workers accepted a compromise proposal from the state conciliator and the Hospital Association has asked for additional time to consider the request, which is halfway between the levels sought by medics and their employers.
Doctors would be guaranteed a minimum wage of 9 euros per hour instead of the 9.50 they sought; the employers had propsoed 8.50. The compromise would provide nurses with a minimum 5 euros per hour; and caregivers, 3 euros.
The request is based on the perception that the Health Insurance Fund has money to spare: health insurance premiums have amassed and the fund has retained earnings of 147 million euros. The institution's 2015 budget, which has passed the first reading, does not factor in the salary levels offered. The second reading is on November 28.
Comments from both the Medical Association's secretary general Katrin Rehemaa and Hospital Association board chairman Urmas Sule have been conciliatory, in efforts to stave off another general strike such as the one this month two years ago. As a result of that stoppage, minimum wages rose 23 percent for caregivers, 17.5 percent for nurses and 11 percent for doctors in March 2013 (to 2.6 euros, 4.5 euros, and 8 euros per hour, respectively).