This video says about itself:
After the Greek government giving the signal, governments all over Europe are imposing ultra-neoliberal policies. 30€ billion of budget cuts in Greece, 29€ billion in the Netherlands, 45€ billion in France, 80€ billion in Germany… Salaries are being decreased, the regulation of dismissals is being lifted off, good education and health care are becoming an expensive privilege of the rich, state services are being privatized.
They tell us that these cuts are necessary to cover the large state debts and deficits. They do not tell us that these debts and deficits were created by the rescue packages that governments offered as a gift to banks. They also do not tell us that with these budget cuts they want the unemployed, the students and the working people to pay for these rescue packages.
There were workers from various sectors of health care (in a wide sense).
The keynote speech was by Allen Ralston, a psychiatrist born in Scotland, working in the Netherlands now.
He said that when the preparations for the meeting had started, the rightist minority government coalition, propped up by the xenophobic PVV party, had still been in power. However, that government collapsed. There will be elections on 12 September. That may open new perspectives for the pro-health care and anti-privatisation movement.
Then, Emmy and Ineke spoke. They represented home care workers, mainly women, from Rotterdam fighting against their bosses. Their privatized bosses of Faveo corporation wanted to cut the workers’ wages to cleaners‘ wage levels. While home care work, for elderly or disabled people, is much more complex than sweeping floors, and requires professional training.
The Rotterdam health care workers waged industrial action, and won. However, in April next year, the bosses may try to attack the workers again. Then, bosses may give workers the choice of either accepting much lower cleaners’ level wages, or being sacked. If that will happen, we will go on strike, Ineke said. And many people to whom we provide care would support us then.
A health care worker from Utrecht city remarked that traditionally, home care workers are unorganized. Now, however, they fight for their common interests.
Then, psychologist Ms Gerie Hermans spoke. She said that for psychologists, government policies of more market mechanisms in health care mean that insurance corporations become the psychologists’ bosses. That damages patients’ privacy. It means more bureaucracy, making psychological care more expensive. Pro-privatization ideologists talk a lot on less bureaucracy, but in practice they cause more bureaucracy. They talk about competition and its supposed benefits, but in practice there is often monopoly capitalism. Like in other sectors.
After Ms Hermans’ speech, a physiotherapist reacted that in his sector, problems with insurance corporations are rather similar.
Then, Allen Ralston spoke about a national campaign, including posters with various slogans.
After lunch, there was a film about a doctor’s arguments against privatized healthcare.
Then, Ms Saskia van Os spoke about what the government’s cuts policies mean for dieticians. The “pro-market” governmental “reforms” mean that patients now have to pay themselves for dieticians’ advices. For many dieticians, bankruptcy threatens. And the health of patients, eg, children suffering from coeliac disease, is jeopardized.
Then, surgeon Jan van Dijk and nurse Lex Vink confirmed that “pro-market reforms” in hospitals bring more bureaucracy and higher costs.
Finally, there was discussion about future meetings and other forms of action.
Dutch health care workers are taking a stand today for decent wages and working conditions. After 25 strikes in the Netherlands this year alone, the first ever nationwide health care strike is mobilizing an estimated 150,000 workers at 119 health care facilities, 83 hospitals, 32 outpatient clinics and four rehabilitation centres. This follows a nationwide teachers’ strike two weeks ago that raised similar demands: here.