French health care workers receive ‘historic’ salary increase

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The scheme costs the French government EUR 8 billion. “A historic moment for our health care system,” says the brand-new French Prime Minister Jean Castex. He was appointed early this month after his predecessor, Edouard Philippe, stepped down.

Heroes of care

French health workers have taken to the streets in recent weeks. They were portrayed as ‘heroes of care’ during the corona crisis, but felt that there was not enough financial appreciation for their work. “Heroes with a minimum wage,” employees chanted during demonstrations.

Prime Minister Castex now agrees with them. “This is primarily a recognition of all the hard work that frontline workers have put in during this pandemic,” he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that the salary increase is a compensation for “everyone who gave so much during this crisis.”

France has been severely affected by the corona virus. More than 30,000 people died from the effects of the virus and more than 200,000 French people became infected.

Raise

The salary increase mainly benefits nurses, carers and support staff. Doctors who only work in public hospitals can also benefit. On average, employees will earn an extra 183 euros every month.

The measure was announced one day before France’s main national holiday. The beginning of the French Revolution is commemorated every year on 14 July. Major events have not been organized this year due to the corona measures, but residents of the country dwell on all the work that essential employees have done.

France is not the only European country where discussions about health workers wages have arisen in recent months. In Belgium, health care workers turned their backs on the Prime Minister because of the bad treatment. They feel undervalued and underpaid. Nurses in the Netherlands are also dissatisfied with the salary they receive. Part even threatens to quit.

In the Netherlands

The PvdA and all other opposition parties believe that health care staff should be better paid after the corona crisis, but the cabinet and the government parties do not want to do that. A salary increase is therefore not in it for the time being. The healthcare staff did receive a one-off bonus of 1,000 euros.

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