"Save our professions!" Nurses and midwives protested in Warsaw
Polish nurses organised a protest on Wednesday at Warsaw's Plac Na Rozdrożu, which could be literally translated as "At the Crossroads Square". For the duration of the manifestation, the nurses called the venue "At the Polish Nurses and Midwives' Career Crossroads Square", as they demanded decent wages and better working conditions. They also pointed out problems such as the increasing age average of Polish nurses.
The protest organised to mark the International Nurses and Midwives Day began at 11 a.m. The whole event consisted of 18 legal gatherings which could be seen in front of the Sejm, Matejki street, Plac Na Rozdrożu, Aleje Ujazdowskie, and the Belvedere, where the nurses raised the main problems they have to face in their profession.
The remaining participants of the protest were walking around the area, mostly wearing blue t-shirts and nurse caps. Nurses and midwives from all over Poland came to Warsaw to take part.
After 1 p.m., the nurses marched down Aleje Ujazdowskie towards Plac Na Rozdrożu (At the Crossroads Sqaure), which was temporarily renamed "At the Polish Nurses and Midwives' Career Crossroads Square" by the head of the OZZPiP trade union Krystyna Ptok. The streets that cross at the square were named: "Economic Migration Avenue", "Pension and Allowance Avenue", and "Quitting Profession Avenue".
The new street names were relating to the main problems raised by the nurses at the protest. They demanded improved working conditions and decent wages. They also mentioned lack of generational continuity in nursing and midwifery.
According to data presented by the OZZPiP, the average age of nurses has gone up from 50 to 53 between 2015 and 2020. Majority of employees are older than 50, while nearly half - over 60. The union also stressed that each year 10,000 employees reach pension entitlement, while only 5,000 receive license to practice the profession.
The protesters also criticised the method of determining the basic wage in some medical institutions. "Deputies and Senators, help us change Niedzielski's wrongful law! Save our professions!" - read the sign on one of the banners. The unions are planning to discuss these issues at a meeting with MPs.
The chief of the OZZPiP union said during the protest that the Minister of Health Adam Niedzielski has been invited to Thursday's session of the union board. At the meeting they are to show the minister the latest forecasts relating to their profession.
On that meeting, the union is expected to decide on further steps. "If our action escalates, the current government will take the blame. PM Morawiecki, who has signed a policy meant to develop nursing and midwifery, and the health minister, who is deaf to voice of the community" - Krystyna Ptok said.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP