“With regard to the employment contract in public positions, it was revealed that a standard for the Certificate of the Republic was abolished, which allowed the counting of one and a half points, which makes the legal basis necessary,” explained the bearer of the health portfolio of the Azores, Cleo Meneses, adding that “during the first quarter of this General” the situation will be resolved.”
The official was speaking, in Angra do Aeroísmo, after a more than three-hour meeting with the Portuguese Nurses Federation (SEP), the Democratic Federation of Portuguese Nurses (Sindepor) and the nurses’ union.
In August 2021, the regional government of the Azores reached an agreement with the nurses to pay €12.1 million, in phases, over eight years, in connection with retroactive payments from 2011 to 2013, to unblock jobs, which date back to 2018, and count the duration of Nurses service with an individual employment contract.
According to Clelio Meneses, “about 2,000 workers, mostly nurses, have benefited from the agreements concluded with the various health professions, by paying an amount of nearly five million euros.”
“Most of them have already been settled. He stressed that all this will be overcome in the near future.
The situation of nurses with individual employment contracts was resolved, since the legal nature of the contracts was “different”.
In the case of contract workers in public employment, the situation has been settled until 2019, but a regional legislative decree must be approved in the Parliament of Azure so that one and a half points can be calculated for each year of service, starting in 2020.
Clelio Meneses also advances that in February “the payments corresponding to the replacement of occupations and the bonuses of senior diagnostic and therapeutic technicians will begin.”
For Francisco Branco, of the Sindicato dos Enfermeiros Portugueses (SEP), there are issues that “beyond the reasonable minimum of his understanding”.
“We reached an agreement to solve the problems in August 2021, and this agreement stipulated a certain cadence for retroactive payment and unfreezing of service time. We are in January 2023 and regarding this agreement only the 2018 and 2019 phases have been implemented. 2020, 2021 and 2022 are missing.
The trade union leader considered, however, the three-month period set by the Executive to resolve the situation as “completely acceptable”.
“I leave a feeling of relief, because there is potential for a short-term solution, but for all intents and purposes, these were situations that really should be resolved in 2021 and we’re in the process of resolving them in 2023,” he noted.
Marco Medeiros, of the Democratic Union of Portuguese Nurses (Sindepor), also defended that the solution put forward by the executive guarantees that the process “will be completed as quickly as possible”.
“Hopefully, the missing nurses will begin to come forward during the first quarter,” he said, adding that the union is contacted every month by professionals who have yet to see their situation reconciled.
Pedro Soares, of the Azores Regional Department of the Ordem dos Enfermeiros, also considered that the process had begun to “stretch a little bit over time”.
“The applause they gave us at the time of the coronavirus, without that help now, is starting to look a little hypocritical in some parts,” he said.
The representative of the organization called for a “commitment” from the Provincial Directorate of Finance and the Legislative Council of the Azores with the Trusteeship of Health to speed up the process.
He stressed, “We are aware that there are legal situations that need to be covered, and this is completely understandable, and now what we believe is that with the help of greater political power in this situation, perhaps we can do it faster.”
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