Health Ministry, Doctors Differ On Strike Participation Figures

The health ministry and the committee regulating an ongoing strike by medical professionals who work in the public sector have issued different figures on participation levels on Saturday, the first day of the strike.

A statement issued by the ministry on Sunday said that the number of protesting doctors did not exceed 31 percent, adding that around 353 hospitasl refused to join the 160 protesting hospitals.

The committee organising the strike has announced during a press conference on Saturday that 80 percent of doctors working at health ministry hospitals joined the strike.

Dentists, pharmacists and veterinarians employed in public facilities are also taking part in the strike.

The strikers are demanding an increase in basic salaries in place of a presidential decree in February which increased monthly bonuses but not basic pay.

They also demand the implementation of financial and administrative changes approved in May 2012 by the general assembly of the Doctors Syndicate, which included reform of payscales and promotions.

Egyptian doctors have taken part in a number of partial strikes since the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

As of 1 January 2014, doctors have been staging bi-weekly strikes to demand higher salaries and increased government investment in healthcare services. Starting on 8 March, healthcare professionals launched a partial open ended strike.

Source : Ahram online

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