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Bulgarian nurses’ struggle

D 18 May 2020    


Bulgarian nurses’ struggle

On Nurses International Day, healthcare professionals in Bulgaria submitted a petition with over ten thousand signatures to the Ministry of Health in Sofia. The nurses demand better conditions and that the nursing profession should be recognized as an important profession.

On May 12, International Nursing Day is celebrated around the world. But in the capital Sofia in Bulgaria, there was no celebration - instead, nurses handed over a petition with almost 12,000 signatures to the Ministry of Health in the capital Sofia.

Nurses in Bulgaria have in recent years self-organized and formed their own trade union. Their most important requirement from March 1, 2019, is to stop commercialisation and privatization in health care, raise wages to twice the minimum wage and ensure that the joint collective agreement that exists in all hospitals is followed. The nurses also require compensation for night and overtime work and the right to a lowered retirement age.

In Tuesday’s protest, the nurses also demanded that the profession category be changed to "medical specialist" so that the profession should be more sought after.

- We will not celebrate this day, because our profession is already a "dead" profession. It was killed by the carelessness of the politicians, the lobbying interests, the stinginess of the managers and the lethargy of society. Today in Bulgaria, there are no nurses, only workers with slave wages in white uniforms, said Maya Ilieva, who organizes the nurse protests in Bulgaria in connection with the protest.

The nurses also urged people not to applaud them, but instead attach a light blue loop to their chest. The loop has become an important mark against the difficult conditions prevailing in the healthcare sector in Bulgaria, and the nurses have worn them during this year’s protests.

In Bulgaria, the corona pandemic has led to nurses in the depleted healthcare sector working in even more difficult conditions. In the spring, dozens of doctors and nurses resigned from hospitals in the capital, Sofia, as there was not enough protective equipment.

For more info:

Maya Ilieva for the Union of Nurses Bulgaria


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