Residents’ and Specialists’ Trade Union (ReSzaSz) established
The Trade Union of Residents and Specialists would like to achieve better wages and more transparency in the health care sector even at the cost of demonstrations or strikes. “It is also the interest of patients to be able to understand the operation of hospitals and to enjoy safety even if they do not pay parasolvency (gratitude money) - says Tamás Dénes, president of the new union. If they cannot make themselves heard, the first action of the new union will be the refusal of voluntary overtime.
They are fed up with armchair revolution and Facebook messages: they will protest in public rather than virtual places. Tamás Dénes announced that the new union joined the National Confederation of Workers’ Councils immediately after its foundation.
Decent wages instead of gratitude payment of patients
The trade union demands higher wages: HUF 300,000 for residents, HUF 500,000 for specialists and HUF 700,000 for head physicians as the basic salary. In the case of nurses they would accept an immediate 50% and then in the long term a 100% wage increase. “Our demands are not unrealistic and the requested wage rise - besides increasing the material and professional recognition of health care workers - will also eradicate the tradition of fear-induced parasolvency.” - Mr Dénes added.
ReSzaSz stands up for the complete reform of the sector
- minimum 6,5 percent of the GDP should be spent on the health care sector
- also patients should have access to infection and mortality statistics of hospitals
- patients’ opinions should be taken into consideration
- financial contributions given by pharmaceutical companies to doctors and hospitals should be made public
“We can collaborate with the government only if the situation of patients will be least as important for them as it is for the Czech or Slovak government.” – said one of the leaders of the union, Zsolt Hegedűs. The orthopaedic surgeon, who returned to Hungary after working ten years in England, would reform the Hungarian health sector on the basis of his experiences abroad. “In Britain the patient can see the HAI and mortality rate figures of the particular hospital already at the entrance. Before operation, he can even select the quality and the lifetime of guarantee of the prostheses to be used.” – said Zsolt Hegedűs about the transparency of the system.
The government should keep its promises
As a first step, ReSzaSz accepts the wage rise as of January as promised by the Ministry of Human Resources. “We are looking forward to seeing if the wage slips in February indeed show a net 270,000 HUF specialist’s basic salary.” - noted Tamás Dénes who thinks that the desired salary setting could be realised within 2-3 years. The trade union deems a 100 percent pay rise necessary in the case of nurses. Balázs Sipka, vice-president of the union mentioned that neither the present 135,000 HUF basic salary of residents nor their unpredictably paid student grants can provide for a decent living.
Three + One Strikes
The new trade union strives at cooperation and not fight with the government as health care is indeed a national issue that should be addressed jointly. However, if there should be no progress, ReSzaSz will ask its 1001 members to refuse working voluntarily in overtime. According to the union whose members do not accept parasolvency, this action may incapacitate the out-of-hours services of hospitals.
The second step will be demonstration.
The union announced that they would join the protest march of nurses to be organised in May.
The third step is strike.
The legal basis is given but the practical preparation of a strike, if necessary at all, would take several months, explained the lawyer of the trade union to Origó portal. If the strike will be prohibited with a legislative amendment, mass resignation could be the ultimate action. Tamás Dénes emphasized that it is only due to the dedication of doctors to their profession and the loyalty of the society that the Hungarian health care system is still operational but patience is running out.