The president of the PAGNI Workers’ Union and member of the general council of POEDIN, Dimitris Vrysalis, addressed the rally for health, which took place today, Monday (18/9) in Sitia.
Mr. Vrysalis stated the following:
“Today’s gathering is the continuation of the large-scale mobilizations of the hospital workers’ unions and the PHY as well as the ESY doctors’ associations from one end of the island to the other, Ierapetra, Rethymnon, Chania, culminating in the large Pancreatic rally in Heraklion in February, embraced by over 150 organizations from all over Crete.
With our presence at the rally in Sitia, we declare our anger and our determination not to remain silent in the face of the prescribed crime that took place in Thessaly, in the death of 16 of our fellow human beings. The enormous destruction of property, the loss of life with the recent fires and floods are the choice of the policies of all governments throughout the ages, which – at the central and local level – do not hesitate to count as unnecessary costs the anti-flood and anti-fire projects, which use unscientific hospital operating criteria, such as occupancy, mileage, revenue. It is the same policy that has brought all the hospitals of our country, including Crete, to the verge of closing.
We strengthen our determination that the eternal cost-benefit logic of all governments, the commercialization, the apotheosis of individual responsibility, does not pass. This is the cause of the deficiencies in the public health structures, which, after weakening and discrediting them, merges them (in the context of the new health map), closes them or hands them over to insurance companies and health traders. This is also the reason why when it rains we drown and when it’s summer we burn.
It is the same policies that are currently introducing the extreme labor bill, which provides for work for two employers, zero hours contracts, 6 month trial contracts and dismissal without compensation, while we have already been given the “right” to work until the age of 74.
The government and the EU consider health a commodity, their purpose is for a few big businessmen to increase their profits by sucking the waste of the public health system.
There are countless times when claiming the self-evident: hospital staffing with permanent staff, equipment with suitable and safe materials, safe infrastructure, open emergency exits, fire safety and earthquake protection, they answered us with the cliché of “realism” and “fiscal adjustment”. to the economy’s strength. This was proven by the experience of the pandemic, where the lack of measures to protect the people and the understaffing of the public health system cost the lives of 30,000 people in our country and millions around the world.
The developments in Thessaly are similar to what we experience in hospitals. It is the same policy that sacrifices everything on the altar of privatization, commercialization, PPPs, that gives everything for capital without counting the cost in human lives.
- How many times have the fighting health workers not denounced the tragic understaffing of hospitals?
- How many times have we not pointed out that it is dangerous for workers to work shifts 8 and 9 days in a row without a day off, to work after shift up to 32 hours without sleep, to be owed 2 and 3 years’ leave? And now the government is coming to legalize the 13-hour work day, which health workers, hotel workers, etc. know very well.
- How many times have we not reported that newly appointed workers without any work experience, specialist nurses and doctors who are asked to take over the duties of qualified and experienced colleagues, due to the lack of staff, are placed by hospital administrations and the corresponding services alone on a shift?
- How many times have we not reported that nursing departments are operating with staff below the safety limit for patients and workers, with pressures to get off shifts, revoking days off and holidays, questioning the sick leaves of colleagues?
Although we are very angry, we must continue to walk with our heads held high. Anyone who stoops to it is helping no one but those who brought the situation here, all these governments, capitalists and their minions.
We tell them that we will not leave them in the lurch, they will not get rid of us so easily.
Let them stop mocking that they are creating one of the best systems in Europe, as the Prime Minister told TIF. In order for the public health system to fully cover modern social needs, and not to adapt to the logic of the lowest cost, an increase in state funding is needed. Any new equipment and the construction of clinics and hospitals requires permanent staff to operate them. It requires decent working conditions and financial incentives, so that we don’t have resignations. Contractors need to leave hospitals, there should be a developed system of outpatient care, so that patients are not transported in carts or with military and garbage truck drivers.
We fight en masse against the policy that intensifies the exploitation of the many for the profits of the few, against the policy that puts human life in the balance of cost-benefit, which is ultimately reflected in our slogan “THEY COUNT PROFITS AND LOSSES, WE TALK ABOUT HUMANS LIVES”.
The solution will only be found by the collective organized struggle of the workers, away from the games that “cost” our lives, to leave loopholes for the “sharks” of health to do “business”. It is necessary today for unions and mass organizations through our struggles, our common action, to publicly demand free Health for all, staffed hospitals and health centers with full working rights based on our needs.