Health workers in Turkey went on strike after the withdrawal of a draft bill in the Turkish parliament that would have brought some increases in the salaries of medical doctors, and also went on strike over the harsh working conditions that have been imposed upon them during the pandemic.
The general practitioners would have received a monthly increase of 2,500 Turkish liras (around 150 euros as of 16 December) while medical specialists would have received twice that amount.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB), the Health and Social Services’ Workers’ Trade Union (SES) and the Union of Public Workers in General Health and Social Services (Genel Sağlık-İş) called for the strike on Tuesday.
The chair of the TTB Istanbul branch, Prof. Dr. Pınar Saip, joined the strikers on Wednesday in the premises of Istanbul University Hospital.
“Health workers, even as they’ve been obliged to work in the tough conditions of the pandemic, recently had to face growing poverty as well,” she said.
“While the health workers quit, saying they can’t continue to work in such conditions any longer, while they hand in their resignations one by one, many health workers including young medical doctors move abroad,” she added.
Saip called upon the Turkish Minister of Health to resign: “The Health Minister who remained silent over the rights of the health workers has once again failed to fulfil his duty. His resignation will be the best response he can give us.”
In the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakır (Amed), the striking health workers chanted and danced in protest, and observed a moment of silence in memory of all the victims of the pandemics.
Thousands went on strike in every province of the country, while public announcements have been made in most urban centres including the capital city of Ankara, the western coastal city of Izmir, the southern cities of Adana and Mersin, and the Kurdish-majority cities of Van, Mardin, Dersim and Cizre.