The nurses’ union in Denmark said on Monday that a 10 percent of the nurses will go on strike on Saturday after union members voted against a pay deal that their union leadership had approved.
The decision came with the Nordic country having largely prevented a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, easing pressure on an overstretched health service. There has been a steady drop in infections and hospitalizations, allowing Denmark to relax hard lockdown measures imposed in December.
The strike, which begins on Saturday morning, involves 5,350 nurses, the Danish Nurses’ Organization told Reuters. The union could not say how long the strike would last.
“The discontent with wages has grown too great,” union president Grete Christensen said in a statement. “…After a year and a half with coronavirus, we are in a place where nurses have been running extra fast in a working day that was already characterized by a pressured work environment.”
Nurses and radiographers had had until Sunday to vote on a proposal for a new collective agreement between public employer organizations and the union, but the proposal had not included any immediate wage increases for nurses, a sore point.
Around 65.5 percent of votes were against the proposal, while 34.5 percent were in favor. A majority of radiographers, however, voted in favor, meaning they will not be going on strike.
“Of course, its upsets me very much that we are now facing a dispute in the healthcare system,” said Anders Kuhnau, lead negotiator of Danish Regions, a government employer, which manages Denmark’s healthcare system.
Danish Regions said they had agreed to set up emergency teams across the country in order to offer treatment to those patients in critical need.