" Portugal had a clean exit from the 78-billion-euro bailout programme it signed with the troika of the international lenders -- the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank -- in May this year."
Lisbon, Sep 5 - The Syndicate of Portuguese Nurses (SEP) announced a two-day national strike to protest against overstretched working timetables and lack of employees in the country.

The strike has been planned for Sep 24 and 25 to protest outside the Health Ministry of Portugal, Xinhua reported.

Nurses are now confronted with innumerable problems and the lack of professionals is leading to exhaustion, Xinhua quoted the SEP president Jose Carlos Martins as saying Thursday.

The SEP president also pointed to a degradation of working conditions and said nurses were working 10 to 15 hours per day for many consecutive days, without breaks. Around 25,000 more nurses should be hired to work for the country's national health service, he added.

Carlos Martins pointed out that the strike would be cancelled if the health ministry responds positively to the nurses' demands during a meeting which will take place Sep 17.

Portuguese nurses have been working in awful working conditions with long working hours and low pay, which has triggered their exodus to foreign countries looking for better opportunities.

Portugal had a clean exit from the 78-billion-euro bailout programme it signed with the troika of the international lenders -- the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank -- in May this year.

The government had been implementing a harsh austerity policy which sparked protests from all walks of life in the country in the past three years.


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