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Nurses and technical staff stopped working at the Charité and demand a uniform wage
As of this morning, around 1,500 nursing staff, technical staff and cleaning staff at the Charité University Hospital and the Virchow Clinic in Berlin have been on strike for an unlimited period. According to the Verdi service union, the strike started at 6 a.m. Two demonstrations are planned for the afternoon. A few hundred beds of the approximately 3,200 hospital beds were no longer occupied in order to prevent supply shortages. The operation in the emergency outpatient clinic is not discontinued, but patients have to prepare for very long waiting times because the weekend shifts are the same. Patients are asked to move to other hospitals.
Only emergency operations last Friday, the clinic management announced that non-urgent medical appointments would be postponed. This applies to all surgery appointments that were originally planned for the course of the week. The shifts were made in consultation with the affected patients. Since no agreement is currently in sight, the Charité is preparing for a longer absence from the workforce. Since the beginning of the morning shift at 6 a.m., nursing staff, technical staff and the cleaning staff have been on an indefinite strike. A total of 1,500 sisters, nurses and employees are on strike. Hundreds of treatments, diagnostic tests, and therapies fail due to the strike. The Berlin Senate and the hospital management have asked the fire departments and rescue control centers to take emergency patients to other clinics. An emergency service agreement was made for acute cases that can only be treated in the Charité due to the equipment of the clinic. The agreement was signed on Friday between the union and management. All areas of the three Campi Mitte, Virchow and Benjamin Franklin are affected by the labor dispute, including emergency rooms, functional areas, intensive care units and surgery units. In addition, all CFM service areas are on strike.
300 euros more salary to receive nationwide wages Around 13,000 Berliners and Brandenburgers work in the state-owned Charité. Every year, around 500,000 people are treated on an outpatient basis and around 130,000 patients on an outpatient or semi-inpatient basis. In addition to the university hospital, the employees of the subsidiary "Charité Facility Management" (CFM) went on an indefinite strike. Around 2,500 company employees are affected by the strike. The CFM is responsible for transport and the in-house security guard at the clinic. According to Verdi, the employees of the subsidiary are paid far less than the main employees of the hospital group. Some employees only receive a gross wage of 5.50 euros per hour. After deducting taxes and health insurance, little remains of earnings. After around ten years of employment, a normal nurse receives less than 2500 euros gross despite night shifts and weekends. The strikers, however, demand at least 2800 euros per month, ie 300 euros more. According to Verdi, the increase would correspond to the collective wages that are customary in Germany. "It is not the strike but the normal conditions at the clinic that endanger the patients," said one unionist.
Charité highly indebted The Charité has been in debt for millions. Last year, the head of the clinic Karl Max Einhäupl presented an annual balance of minus 17.8 million euros. Although red figures were generated in 2010, the annual result was still better than in previous years. The red-red Senate is demanding a balanced result for the current year. At least the Charité should write a black zero for 2011. Due to the savings, the clinic could hardly respond to the demands of the employees, the medical director of the clinic, Ulrich Frei, emphasized on Friday. But you do understand the demands of the employees. However, one would be in the “vice between the concerns of the employees and the requirements of politics”. The trade unions' offer currently submitted cannot therefore be accepted. The Senate had announced that it did not want to interfere in the collective bargaining. One is "but in close contact" with both sides.
Afternoon demonstrations planned In the afternoon, the strikers want to hold a demonstration. The demo begins at 3:30 p.m. on the Charité Berlin-Mitte campus and at the Virchow Clinic in Berlin-Wedding. Both trains then want to take a protest train through the city center and unite at the rally at the Müllerstraße / Fennstraße intersection in Wedding. A rally will then take place at 4.30 p.m., on which the demands of the staff will be made and justified. (sb)
Strike in the Berlin Charité
Image: Copyright Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin