Workers from 21 of 33 total hospitals plan to strike. On May 10, doctors will organize a two-hour warning strike between 12:00-14:00 demanding an immediate increase in pay. On May 15, they will stage a one-day strike, and will only treat patients in need of emergency treatment.
According to Krzysztof Bukiel, head of the All-Polish Doctors Union (OZZL), the workers will remain on strike in the event that their demands are ignored. The doctors are demanding a 100% wage increase, bringing the wages to over 4,000 zloty per month.
According to Reuters, the average pay for doctors in Poland is 1,800 zloty per month, only 70% of the average industrial wage.
Young Polish doctors are beginning to vote with their feet. Since Poland joined the EU, thousands of doctors have left the country in search of medical employment abroad.
According to PAP, Health Minister and former heart surgeon Zbigniew Religa stated that the finances in the health sector are not able to fulfill the doctors’ requests. In October 2006, the Polish health ministry increased doctors’ salaries by 30%.
Religa has stated that the government is prepared for protests and medical care for patients will be ensured. He assured also that government is prepared for long-lasting protest and medical care for the patients will be protected.