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Resignations among Nurses in Iceland Reach 158

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Resignations among Nurses in Iceland Reach 158

Doctors

Archive photo. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

A total of 189 healthcare professionals, among them 158 nurses, have resigned at Landspítali National University Hospital since a bill was passed to stop the strike of nurses on June 13. Twenty percent, or 88 of the resignations, are among nurses working at the hospital’s operations ward. If they take effect, they will have an impact on its services.

“It’s clear that it would compromise the services at operation rooms and the intensive care unit, which is bad considering that we already have a waiting list because of the strikes,” the ward’s managing director Alma Möller told ruv.is.

She added that further analysis is needed to determine the exact effects and an emergency plan is in preparation.

A new meeting between representatives of nurses and the Icelandic state has been scheduled tomorrow morning.

Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson revealed that nurses have already been offered a 20 percent salary increase but Chair of the Nurses’ Association Ólafur Skúlason states that this isn’t true, that the state has only offered 18 percent.

“These resignations are of course part of the wage dispute … intended to achieve a similar result as the strike, to make progress in the talks,” Bjarni maintained.

Ólafur denied that this is the intention of nurses. “The nurses I have talked with aren’t fooling anyone with these resignations. These people have simply had enough of too much workload and low salaries and they will no longer accept being in a job which isn’t valued as much in terms of pay as a traditional man’s job.”

According to information from Sólstafir, which provides temporary jobs for nurses in Norway, applications have increased considerably this year; 20 new applications have been received.

The number of resignations will likely continue to increase. For comparison, 254 nurses resigned during a wage dispute in 2012 but most of them later withdrew their resignations.

At midnight tonight, 10,500 industrial workers are set to go on a seven-day strike unless an agreement with SA, Business Iceland, is reached before then. The effects would be wide-reaching, for example on air traffic to and from Keflavík International Airport.

Meanwhile, the members of SGS, the Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland, who were on strike in May, have accepted the new wage agreement with SA.

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