Egyptian Doctors Syndicate to hold partial strike on Wednesday

Ahram Online, Tuesday 31 Dec 2013

Emergency care will still be available during the nationwide strike

Syndicate Big
Doctors demonstrating at the medical syndicate in March 2013 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

The newly elected board of the Doctors Syndicate is calling on its 69,000 members to take part in a partial strike on Wednesday.

Al-Ahram’s Arabic website reported on 21 December that Mona Mina, the secretary-general of the syndicate, announced plans for a strike on 1 January and on 8 January.

The strike will not include emergency services, ambulance services or any urgent medical services.

The syndicate is demanding the reform of the health system in Egypt, an increase in the minimum wages of the doctors, secure hospitals and an increase the budget of the health ministry.

Mina said that the strike will take place in all medical institutions under the direction of the Ministry of Health. The syndicate board has said that any doctor in authority who threatens others not to strike will be referred to the syndicate’s ethics committee.

The syndicate has reportedly informed the Ministry of Interior of the strike and related sit-ins.

Amr El-Shoura, a member of the syndicate, told Ahram Online on Tuesday that the main reasons for the strike is the lack of serious action by the government on the syndicate’s demands since the last strike in March 2012.

"We are asking the government to increase our wages, increase the budget of the Ministry of Health, secure the hospitals and improve working conditions," said El-Shoura.

He also added that in the syndicate’s last meeting everyone agreed to delegate the newly elected board of the syndicate to organise the partial strike.

"We have not yet decided what we will be doing after this partial strike if the government does not take any action," said El-Shoura.

He added that the Pharmacists Syndicate, which includes around 20,000 pharmacists, will be joining the strike.

Egyptian Minister of Health Maha El-Rabat announced on Tuesday that all emergency facilities will be operating normally during the two strike days, and that all the medical supplies will be available in emergency units. She added that there will be cooperation and integration between hospitals in different provinces and with armed forces or police hospitals to serve patients in emergencies.

Syndicates representing nurses, physical therapists, and other health professionals informed the health ministry that they would not be participating in the strike.

The ministry has also dedicated special phone lines that will receive emergency phone calls during the strike, including 123 for ambulance services.

Since 2011 the doctors' syndicate has consistently demanded an increase in doctors' minimum wages at a national level.

The first nationwide doctors strike was in May 2011, covering most public hospitals and several university hospitals. The strikers’ demands included increasing doctors' minimum wages and raising the national health budget from 3.5 percent of the total state budget to 15 percent.

The syndicate also initiated a partial strike from October 2012 to March 2013 to put pressure on the government to meet their demands.

In October, the Egyptian government announced that LE 1,800 per month would be the minimum starting salary for doctors beginning in January 2014, but the Doctors Syndicate argue that this is not an adequate minimum wage for medical professionals. 

The new minimum wage for all public sector workers regardless of rank or specialty is LE1,200 per month. It is due to take effect in January.



Short link: