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Bernese healthcare personnel stage strike

"Good healthcare has a price" say striking Bernese healthcare professionals Keystone

Nurses and doctors in canton Bern went on strike on Wednesday to demand better wages and working conditions. Organisers said 15,000 people took part in strike activities, including several thousand who marched through the capital, Bern.

This content was published on May 9, 2001 - 18:25

The protest marked the second time in the past six months that Bern healthcare professionals have made demands to the authorities.

They have asked for a 1.5 per cent salary increase, wage adjustments to reflect the cost of living and more personnel.

Bern's cantonal government last week offered a series of improvements, worth an estimated SFr35 million this year.

The strikers described the offer as a step in the right direction but insufficient.

The Public Service Union said the proposals do not address the problems facing healthcare today, which include burn out, resignations and people leaving the medical profession.

The strike in canton Bern is being seen as a symptom of a growing healthcare problem throughout Switzerland. Healthcare professionals across the country have carried out similar demonstrations against poor working conditions and inadequate salaries since the start of the year.

So far, the show of strength has yielded some results. In January, a Zurich court ordered wage increases, to the tune of SFr200 million, for the canton's hospital workers.

swissinfo with agencies

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