July 6, 2020

Health personnel protest in Argentina in demand for protection and wages



Unions of the health personnel of Argentina carried out this Thursday a national day of protest demanding a greater provision of protection elements against the coronavirus pandemic, the payment of an additional bonus for four months and the opening of joint negotiations for an increase wage.

More than 40 organizations adhered to the protest that consisted of marches, maintaining social distancing, and labor strikes but preserving the guards and the care of those infected with COVID-19.

The protests were led by the Federation of Trade Unions of Health Professionals (Fesprosa), regional representations of the Association of State Workers (ATE) and the Central of State Workers (CTA), among other unions.

In Buenos Aires, members of Fesprosa, resident doctors and other health sectors challenged movement restrictions due to the mandatory confinement that governs the country and marched to the Buenos Aires Legislature, the local parliament.

The federation, which integrates some 30,000 workers from all sectors of the public health system, also carried out actions in the provinces of Córdoba, Santa Fe, San Luis, San Juan, Tucumán and Chaco.

CONTAGIATED SANITARY PERSONNEL

Health workers are currently facing a critical situation due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Argentina, not only because of the demand for care but because of the risk of contagion.

With more than 870 infected -about 17% of the total of 5,208 confirmed cases in the country-, and nine deceased -of a total of 273 deaths-, health professionals demand “a hierarchy” of the sector.

“We have to be prepared and for this the central thing is that the human resource is in the necessary conditions to be able to provide the population with health service,” they warned from Fesprosa.

CLAIM PROTECTION AND WORTHY WAGES

The president of the federation, Fernanda Boriotti, told Efe that “the main concerns are that the national plan for the protection of workers be applied, with equipment in adequate quantity and quality, that rapid tests be carried out on health personnel, and that they be opened wage negotiations in the provinces because wages were frozen with the excuse of the pandemic, “despite the fact that inflation continues to rise.

Boriotti, a biochemist, also highlighted that the majority of health workers have multiple jobs, that is, they work in several entities and that implies “overexposure, the virus can go from one side to the other, and generates fatigue that sometimes leads to reduced personal protection. “

The leader warned that the protection kits do not reach the provinces in sufficient quantity and quality: “One does not know which patient will be positive and must always take care of themselves.”

Health workers also refused to cut wages and pay in installments, while calling for an end to job insecurity and exemption from income tax for those who work during the pandemic.

PROTESTS INCREASE DESPITE MANDATORY CONFINEMENT

Despite the fact that preventive and compulsory social isolation prevails, since Wednesday social protests began in various parts of the country, with protesters wearing masks and trying to maintain a certain social distance.

After a first protest by left-wing organizations on Wednesday in different parts of the country, demanding more food assistance from the national government, among other demands, other organizations marched this Thursday in Buenos Aires, in addition to health workers.

Groups of teachers and political organizations protested before the Legislature of the city of Buenos Aires to reject an emergency bill that the government of the capital is promoting that could freeze wages of state workers.

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