Zagreb Patients Being Transported Regularly Despite Strike

By 5 February 2020

ZAGREB, February 5, 2020 - A certain number of ambulance drivers in Zagreb went on strike on Wednesday, but patients are being transported regularly, the head of the city's Department of Emergency Medical Services, Žarko Rašić, said.

The department asked a court to ban the strike considering that the Healthcare Act does not provide for the possibility of emergency medical services staff organising a strike, Rašić told Hina.

"At the moment, everything is operating normally. All patients have been transported for dialysis treatment and there are no long waits. We have about 15 ZET city transport drivers on call if need be and about 30 staff from other institutions - drivers and nurses who are prepared to step in," Rašić said and added that 31 ambulance crews were on the ground.

No one from the union of ambulance drivers was available this morning for a comment. The union announced on Monday that ambulance crews in Zagreb would go on strike to demand a pay rise so that their monthly wages are equated with those of drivers of emergency medical service vehicles, which would require an additional two million kuna (270 million euro) annually.

The union is demanding that the government adopt a regulation to define job titles and job complexity indices so that ambulance drivers be reinstated with their original index which was reduced when the ambulance service was divested from the emergency medical service in 2011.

Talks were held at the Health Ministry on Tuesday with the leader of the ambulance drivers' union Mišel Majetić, and Minister Vili Beroš offered a compromise regarding job complexity indices.

Beroš said on Wednesday morning that the Department of Emergency Medical Services had asked a court to say whether the strike was lawful and that until the court delivered its ruling it was his duty to see to it that emergency services were operating normally.

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