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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish health minister announces pay hike deal with paramedics

22.09.2021 12:00
Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski on Wednesday said the government had reached an agreement with protesting paramedics and their employers over pay and working conditions, state news agency PAP reported.
Audio
  • Polish health minister announces pay hike deal with paramedics
Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski.
Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski.Photo: PAP/Piotr Nowak

Niedzielski told reporters the deal had been struck during seven-hour trilateral talks, “after weeks of negotiations not just around financial matters, but also policy issues, changes in the law.”

His deputy Waldemar Kraska outlined the details, saying the government was bringing back a 30-percent bonus "for work under difficult conditions” as well as another add-on benefit for being part of an ambulance team.

Moreover, employers had agreed to pay staff on civil-code contracts at least PLN 40 (EUR 8.65, USD 10.15) per hour, Kraska said.

As a result, paramedics will now earn some PLN 12,000 per month, Kraska estimated, adding that such pay levels should “attract young would-be healthcare workers.”

Piotr Dymon, a spokesman for the protesting paramedics, told a news conference the protest had been suspended on Tuesday in response to the agreement, “but we will be watching how things are implemented and could resume our action if necessary,” he said.

Both Niedzielski and Kraska welcomed the deal as “excellent news in view of the mounting fourth wave of the coronavirus,” where paramedics “are highly needed, in order to save the lives and health of the Polish people.”

Paramedics were protesting as part of a wider effort by healthcare workers, who are are calling for better pay, more support staff, civil servant status, protection against abuse from patients and that staff levels be linked to the number of patients, among other demands, news agencies reported.

Under a new bill currently going through parliament, the government seeks to raise healthcare spending to 7 percent of GDP by 2027.

The legislation is part of the conservative government's flagship Polish New Deal initiative to boost the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP

Click on the audio player above to listen to a report by Radio Poland's Tomasz Ferenc.