TALLINN - The Estonian Doctors’ Union and Healthcare Workers’ Vocational Union reached a preliminary agreement with the Hospitals' Union Thursday evening, according to which the sides agreed upon the main conditions of the collective labor agreement and the strike ends as of today, Public Broadcasting reports.
“The strike is over,” Doctors’ Union president Andres Kork said, adding that the medical staff achieved all the most important things they aspired for.
According to the agreement, medical inters will be paid starting Jan. 1, 2013 for full workweek. The workload of doctors and nurses will be reduced in outpatient care by 20 and inpatient care by 16 percent.
Starting March 1, the minimum hourly wage of caretakers will increase by 23, that of nurses by 17.5 and doctors by 11 percent.
Riigikogu Social Committee Chairman Margus Tsahkna, Social Minister Hanno Pevkur and Health Insurance Fund head Tanel Ross participated at the concluding of the preliminary agreement and all promised that the finances needed to reduce the workload of healthcare workers and for their wage increase will be found from the Health Insurance Fund and state budget.
When the necessary decisions are made, the collective labor agreement can be signed and the work peace can be restored in healthcare.
The Hospitals Union hopes that the collective labor agreement can be concluded by the end of November. The union says that a change in Health Insurance Fund price list is the prerequisite for concluding the collective labor agreement.
"Breaking off the strike enables to continue with the ordinary work and patients get again access to medical care. With the agreement, hospitals, providers of emergency medical services and family doctors practices took the obligation of raising the minimum wage of healthcare workers in 2013 more than the increase of the wage components according to the Health Insurance Fund price list prescribes. Thus medical staff with lower wage levels can expect a bigger wage increase primarily," said Estonian Hospitals’ Union board chairman Urmas Sule.
The Estonian Doctors’ Union and Healthcare Workers’ Vocational Union launched a strike concerning outpatient services in larger hospitals in Tallinn and Tartu on Oct. 1, demanding a major wage increase and measures from the state that would stop doctors and nurses leaving from Estonia and the Estonian healthcare system falling apart. Later, the strike was expanded to inpatient care in these hospitals and several county hospitals joined the strike.