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Suriname: Doctors stage industrial action over wages

November 3, 2023

CMC (Suriname) – Health Minister Amar Ramadhin says he is surprised at the decision of the doctors associated with the Association of Regional Health Service Doctors (VRA) who have embarked upon industrial action over salary increases and the late payment for their services.

The doctors have since said that only emergencies will be treated. The general medical practitioners say they are fed up with being paid late by the State Health Insurance Fund (SZF).

In recent months, SZF has been unable to pay for services provided on time and the doctors, who attended a meeting of the VRA on Thursday, said they are having problems meeting their own financial obligations.

They said that if the October payment is not paid by midnight on Friday, they will intensify their actions.

But Ramadhin in expressing surprise at the action of the doctors, told reporters that the medical practitioners are seeking a 150 per cent salary increase that cannot be accommodated under any circumstance.

“The demand is unenforceable,” Ramadhin said, noting also that the VRA is of the view that the Regional Health Service (RGD) should be the body mediating in the matter and not him. He said negotiations have been ongoing for months.

“While negotiations are taking place, no actions can be taken,” Ramadhin added.

According to the administrator of Public Health, there is no reason for the VRA to take action, because negotiations are still on going.

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