Leading nurse and healthcare union organisations in 11 countries across the globe are holding coordinated actions during International Nurses Week to highlight the global efforts to improve patient care protections, oppose cuts in health care services and stop the erosion of nurses’ workplace and living standards, under attack in many countries.
The international actions are the latest in a series of actions by member organisations of Global Nurses United, which includes leading nurses and health care workers in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Europe who pledged to work together on patient care, public health, opposing privatisation, austerity and the dangers to public health posed by climate change.
Central themes of GNU members also include working collectively together to guarantee the highest standards of universal healthcare as a human right for all, to secure safe patient care, especially with safe nurse-to-patient ratios, and safe health care workplaces.
“This great series of actions represents the dedication of nurses and other healthcare workers worldwide uniting to protect patients and the health of our nations,” said Karen Higgins, RN, co-president of National Nurses United in the US.
“GNU was founded as an activist organiation, with the view that our collective movement was critical to challenge the governments and global institutions that promote austerity and cuts in services – and to push for the changes needed for all our communities and nations,” she said.
The New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association held a demonstration outside State Parliament in Sydney Tuesday May 5 to lobby the NSW Government to put patient safety first. The Queensland Nurses Union will honour International Nurses Week by urging the introduction of nurse-to-patient ratios in Queensland public hospitals as part of its Ratios Saves Lives campaign.
The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions will launch its federal election campaign on May 12 around the slogan of “Vote Care, Not Cuts” in support of the country’s Medicare system. The Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec has scheduled events throughout Quebec this month to highlight the vital work of their members in the health system and to continue their campaign for a fair and just collective bargaining agreement covering nurses and other health care professionals.
The Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Enfermeria plans to visit the Dominican Congress and demand that it approve a salary increase for all public and private employees, including nurses. On May 12, nurses unions will hold a vigil outside the National Palace demanding President Danilo Medina comply with agreements signed since October 2013, in which health insurance is guaranteed to pensioners, among others.
PASONOP is calling for action to address the dangerous understaffing in Greek hospitals, the necessity of mandatory, minimum nurse-to-patient ratios and for better funding of the Greek health care system.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation held a press conference in Trim calling on the government to restore nurses’ pay and working conditions that have been cut due to austerity.
The Israeli Nurses Union announced it would strike across the country the second week of May for a new collective bargaining agreement.
Asociación Paraguaya de Enfermería will hold a mass mobilisation in front of the Ministry of Public Health in Asuncion on May 8 to defend the law that respects nurses’ rights and professional practice.
The Alliance of Health Workers is holding a protest march on May 7 to Mendiola, near the Malacanang Palace calling for a national minimum wage, decent jobs and a ban on contract labor. Simultaneous actions will be held in the regions of Cordillera and Visayas. On May 11, the union will have a protest action in front of the House of Representatives with demands for decent jobs for nurses, better pay and working conditions.
The nurses’ union Sindicato de Enfermería de Ayudantes Técnicos Sanitarios de España (SATSE) is holding actions across Spain during the week of May 12 around the theme of “I am a nurse” (“Soy Enfermera”) to raise the visibility of the work of their members.
National Nurses United will hold rallies in Washington, D.C. on May 12 to urge passage of mandatory, minimum nurse-to-patient ratio legislation and to call on the federal Veterans Administration to stop the bullying of registered nurses. NNU will also hold a demonstration in Sacramento, California on May 12 urging the passage of state legislation concerning safe care for patients, as well as legislation that would end gender disparities in the workers’ compensation system and to support fair pay for women. California RNs are also picketing several hospitals in a call for hospitals to provide safer, therapeutic and effective care.
Sindicato Unico de Enfermeria del Uruguay will hold a national assembly on May 11 at Government House in Montevideo and demands by the nurses will be given to the president of the country to improve wages and working conditions of Uruguay’s nurses.