The Nurses in Bulgaria are Rising Up!

St. Mina Oncology Hospital, Blagoevgrad. Source: undp.bg.

The nurses in Bulgaria have declared the 1st of March a day of strike. They will start protest actions throughout the entire country at precisely 12 p.m.

We are in full support of their actions and we call for solidarity internationally. This strike is not just a Bulgarian one. This strike concerns labor power that has been mobilized geographically by the growing interest of capital in the medical sector. Nursing has been one of the most feminized sectors in the country, with disgracing wages and humiliating labor conditions growing by the day. Medical care has become yet another field in which capital accumulates at the expense of workers’ dignity and patients’ health. State owned hospitals and clinics have been turned into trade companies and our health into a commodity. On top of it all, private hospitals receive state funding turning the state budget distribution into a mechanism of enriching the rich and pauperizing the rest. As an effect, thousands of nurses leave the country each year so they can sell their labor abroad, leaving family and loved ones behind and joining the mobile pauperized in search for better conditions of social reproduction.

It is very likely that a nurse who will strike on the 1st of March here in Bulgaria, will be the nurse who will treat you next time at your local hospital in Germany, Italy, Spain, France, the UK or elsewhere in Europe and beyond. Show solidarity by:

-sending us a short email or a photo message of solidarity at levfembg@gmail.com. We will make sure it reaches the striking nurses.

-letting the nurses at your local hospital know that there is a strike taking place in Bulgaria and that support from fellow nurses is welcomed.

-and if you happen to know a nurse coming from Bulgaria who works at your location, tell her that you support the strike in Bulgaria.

Below you can read the nurses’ protest declaration and demands:

To: Mr. Boiko Borisov – Premier of The Republic of Bulgaria; Mr. Kiril Ananiev – Minister of Health of the Republic of Bulgaria; Miss Maya Manolova – Public Defender of The Republic of Bulgaria:

This is a declaration from Bulgarian nurses and health practitioners and people who supported them by adding their signatures under this Declaration and joining the protest on 01/03/19. Our goals:

1. No requirements for profit for National Health public hospitals.

2. Equal basic salary for all nurses regardless of ownership of the hospital or practice -twice the national minimal salary.

3. National standards for the differentiation of payment as per workload.

4. National standards for the proportional rate of patients per nurse at the wards.

5. Additional payment for night work – minimum national hourly rate, additional payment for emergency and intensive care units.

6. National agreement on employment conditions in nursing and health and safety legislation.

7. Establishing legislation and regulation for independent nursing practice – district nurses, nursing specialists.

8. Right to early retirement.

To the people ruling Bulgaria, with all due respect we would like to say to you:

This is the least you can do to save Bulgarian nursing and enable Bulgarian nurses to stay and work in Bulgaria! We do not want any more to carry the health system on our backs! We do not want to any more humiliations! We would like to be able to survive, support our families and have normal working conditions! You have to do something to establish order in the health system! We shall give you time till 01/04 /19 and then you have to expect another protest!

Many thanks to the Bulgarian leftist feminist organization LevFem for this text. For more on LevFem, see this interview.

 

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