About 2,000 state nurses, marched through the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, on Tuesday (23 March) in support of higher wage demands.
SV Nurses demonstrating in street with banners and in uniform
SV Nurses leading demonstration with members of public behind them ( 4 shots )
Initials RH/1757 RH/DE/PNG/1804
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Background: About 2,000 state nurses, marched through the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, on Tuesday (23 March) in support of higher wage demands.
The nurses marched to the parliament building, calling for a fair deal from the government. They dispersed shortly after, without any incidents.
The march followed the declaration of a nation-wide strike by Portugal's 20,000 state nurses two weeks ago. At that stage they wanted higher pay and shorter working hours, but changed this to a work-to-rule action when the government threatened to send in troops and draft them into the army.
The work-to-rule paralysed most hospitals in Lisbon and in south Portugal. It provided a test issue for the government, at a time when industrial unrest is sweeping the country. The government faces parliamentary elections on 25 April.
The government adopted a hardline attitude to the nurses' action and asked the board of one Lisbon hospital. It threatened to sack more unless the board called in the police to make the nurses return to work.
Since then, most of the hospitals have returned to normal work.
SYNOPSIS: Two thousand of Portugal's state registered nurses marched through the Portuguese capital Lisbon, on Tuesday night to press their demands for higher pay and shorter working hours. They waved banners calling for a fair deal from the government, but there were no incidents reported.
The march followed a threat by 20,000 nurses two weeks ago to hold a national strike in support of their claims. The government stepped in and said it would send troops in and draft the nurses into the army if they took such action.
The nurses then decided to stage a work-to-rule protest instead and this paralysed many hospitals in Lisbon and this paralysed many hospitals in Lisbon and is southern Portugal. The government adopted a hard-line attitude and since then most of the hospitals have returned to normal work. The action was a test issue for the government, as a wave of industrial unrest sweeps Portugal only weeks before next month's parliamentary elections.