Sunday, July 08, 2007

Living it up at Polish nurses' 'Hilton Hotel' - politicians welcome!

Close to three weeks on strike and camped opposite the main government offices, the nurses refuse to give up.

The strike, for more pay (well, you couldn’t get much less than they get) has been supported by the general public. Thousands of trade unionists joined the protest Friday to show solidarity.

Nurses on hunger strike called off that particular type of protest this weekend, after a not too sympathetic response from the Polish government.

The government – or at least the health minister, Zbigniew Religa, has offered pay rises of up to 30 percent next year, but PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski has repeated, many times, that there is no money in the budget for substantial pay rises in 2007.

Conditions in what they are calling the ‘White City’ on Ujazdowski Av. opposite the prime minister’s office have deteriated over the weeks since the protest began. (They also call the place ‘Hotel Hilton’). Rain has bucketed down on the nurses from the beginning, turning, when we were their on Saturday, much of the ground around the tents to mud.

There are some portable toilets on the site and I saw nurses lining up for soup and bread rolls.

But sanitation is not good. We signed a book giving assistance to nurses who wanted a bath – our flat is only about half a kilometer down the road.

Strange, then, when the telephone went about 8 O’clock at night: it was a journalist from Gazeta Wyborcza wanting to know, ‘when we would be coming down to the ‘white city’? Apparently, someone at the union tent had shown journalists our names, telephone number etc.

I was slightly annoyed at that: we did not give our phone number so journalists from Gazeta Wyborcza could come and have a bath.

But if you are a nurse and you need a shower, then you are always welcome at Beatroot Mansions.

Next round of negotiations between unions and government is scheduled for this Tuesday. So nurses have at least two more nights to camp out under the stars.

Photos by traczka/beatroot productions


Graeme said...

good for them.

I wouldn't mind a bunch of nurses showering at my place either.

Frank Partisan said...

That's really incredible.

Good that they gave up the hunger strike tactic. I'm too cynical to believe in such a tactic.

Nursing is more skilled these days than ever. How are the sick cared for? I'm sure the govt. is playing them off against patients.

Anonymous said...

Pawel in the previous comments section wrote: "The nurses then get a wage that is in proportion to the general wage level in the society. And I am not going to pay extra taxes for the state healthcare that doesn't work and I don't use. Over my dead body."


So what is the average salary for a nurse with say 10 years on the job? How does that salary compare to teachers? To miners? To whatever job titles that will give us furriners an idea of what parity is? There are different vacation and retirement benefits to factor in as well?

Anonymous said...

And I just read that most Polish emigrants to the UK and Ireland are employed in manual labour and earn an average of PLN 7,500 a month. And that 50% have no intention of returning to Poland.

Anonymous said...

I am an Australian Intensive Care Nurse visiting warsaw for holidays.. holidays abroad Hmm something that my collegues in this country will never be able to enjoy... I am almost sickened by the wages that my collegues in this country earn, no wonder why they are all leaving..We won many great fights in Australia and there will be more to come.. my heart goes out to all these nurses and doctors.. Poland like all other countries has an ageing population and this country will suffer dearly if thIS government does NOT support the most basic entitlement of civilised society "HEALTH CARE"... If I could pack you all up I would take you to Australian where you are at least appreciated for work that you do...please keep fighting- you all have the support of nurses worldwide that have gone throught the same CRAP in their careers..

beatroot said...

Very much appreciate that comment, mate.

Max said...

Ich mag dieses Blog enorm, sehr lustig geschrieben. Ich habe da viel Neues gelernt, danke dir dafür. Man sieht das du Dinge so beschreibst wie sie sind. Jeder hat Talent für was anderes. Ich helfe gerne Männern, die Potenzprobleme haben und berate sie darüber wie sie mit ihrem Problem fertig werden und wo sie ihre Potenzmittel günstig kaufen können.

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