De Jonge Specialist (DJS), the Federation of Medical Specialists (FMS) and the National Association of Doctors in Employment (LAD) call on doctors to join the strike on March 16. In a poll by Medisch Contact, some doctors indicate that they are taking part in the campaign, for example out of solidarity. But there are also doctors who deliberately do not go on strike.
Medisch Contact asked via a poll this week whether doctors wanted to participate in the Sunday services of March 16. Of the 124 doctors who responded, 25 were prepared to go on strike, 84 doctors did not participate and fifteen did not yet know. Of those 124 respondents, 24 themselves fall under the collective labor agreement, and 44 under the AMS (Employment Conditions Regulation for Medical Specialists) that builds on this.
Do take action
Doctors who indicate that they will go on strike say that they do so, among other things, ‘out of solidarity’. A doctor who falls under the collective labor agreement wants to use ‘the right to protest’. An internist seems motivated because he thinks it’s madness that companies are making billions in profits and the nurses don’t get a normal salary. Another doctor wants ‘a percentage increase and not a gross amount’. ‘I was also skipped with the bonus with covid, while I had the most patient contact. Very unfair.’ A pediatrician also argues that ‘levelling does not belong in collective bargaining’.
Various arguments are also put forward for not wanting or being able to go on strike. A doctor who falls under the collective labor agreement thinks that ‘I am already too well off compared to other Dutch people’, so that ‘going on strike for my own profession is inappropriate’. A psychiatrist says he does not want patient care to suffer from this form of campaigning. A pediatrician thinks ‘that there is already too much care to catch up’. One neurologist considers it ‘pointless’, while another thinks the employer’s offer is ‘actually good’. A medical doctor fears that going on strike means ‘that the emergency room can actually work harder’. And an emergency room doctor indicates that he indeed has to work himself. A few also cite a practical reason not to go on strike, such as being scheduled for a night shift or having been late for registration.
According to De Jonge Specialist (DJS), it is important that residents work more often to show that their working week ‘really needs to be limited more tightly’. The interest group of young doctors believes it is important that the normative working week is more strictly defined in the new collective labor agreement. DJS states that residents are ‘standardly scheduled for 48 hours in many hospitals’, instead of being scheduled for 38 hours to which ten hours of training can be added. ‘In practice there is often no such thing as ‘being able’, according to the DJS, who believes that employers should be ‘more careful’ with this.
Furthermore, the DJS lacks sufficient purchasing power retention in the latest collective bargaining offer from the Dutch Association of Hospitals (NVZ). Other setbacks in that offer, according to DJS, are that many doctors’ groups will be affected by wage differentiation, and that no expansion – with an extra step for residents – has been included in the salary table.
The LAD and the FMS have also called on their supporters via email to join the strike, because they believe it is important that employed medical specialists make their voices heard and visibly show their solidarity with other employees. According to the LAD, it is also important with a view to maintaining purchasing power, reducing the workload and having more control.