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  2. Regional health workers want to hold pickets, dedicated to coronavirus-related payments. Their rallies are not negotiated allegedly due to the epidemiological situation

Regional health workers want to hold pickets, dedicated to coronavirus-related payments. Their rallies are not negotiated allegedly due to the epidemiological situation

Yelena Zholobova
Street art in the streets of Penza (by Alexei Fevralev)
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Members of the Deystviye (‘Action’) Medical Trade Union from different regions of the country are going to hold rally "Pay for COVID", dedicated to the refusal to pay federal and regional extra-charges for working with patients infected with coronavirus, on September 27. Pickets have already been announced in 15 cities of the country, including Moscow, Vladimir, Voronezh, Saratov, Novosibirsk, and Samara, but regional authorities refuse to negotiate them, Open Media reports.

Health workers from Oryol and Astrakhan Oblasts were the first to be refused to negotiate the picket. The reasons for refusal are the same: unfavorable epidemiological situation and consequent restrictions on public events.

As Dmitry Seryogin, the regional coordinator of Deystviye, told Open Media, the City Day, the opening of a playground and a renovated bridge were recently held in Oryol and involved a large crowd of citizens. But restrictions on mass events, for some reason, are only for the doctors who do not receive the promised money.

According to him, the regional Ministry of Health interprets the decree of the Russian government No. 415 in its own way: officials wrote in explanatory letters on the calculation of coronavirus payments that federal funds were allocated only to health workers working with laboratory-confirmed patients. Thus, many ambulance workers, pediatricians, and therapists were simply excluded from the list of those who are to get the payments.

The doctors from Oryol, whose actions have not been negotiated, plan to hold a series of one-person pickets or a press conference dedicated to the problems of payments for working with COVID-19.

— Our task is not to cause confusion, but to point out the problem of officials misinterpreting the government decree and what the president said, — Dmitry Seryogin explained.

In Astrakhan, members of the trade union have already been refused to negotiate their picket twice. They want to hold a rally because of problems with insurance payments for doctors who have fallen ill with COVID-19.

Health workers in the city of Kandalaksha in Murmansk Oblast are also waiting for an official written refusal to their application to hold a picket. As Oksana Strelkova, the representative of the local branch of Deystvite, said, the city administration has already told her verbally that it will not be possible to hold the action because of the restrictions on public events imposed by the governor.

Doctors in Kandalaksha are complaining about underpayments on government decree No. 415, which regulates federal payments for working under the coronavirus conditions.

- Hospital doctors got no more than 12 thousand rubles instead of the promised 80 thousand rubles — only for the time that they were in contact with patients, although the decree states that even if there was one single patient, you still have to get the declared amount — 80 thousand rubles for each doctor, — Strelkova told Open Media.

Sochi is the only city where the health workers' picket  is currently negotiated.

Monthly additional payments for treating patients with coronavirus were introduced at the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin in mid-April 2020. According to the government decree, physicians were to be paid 80 thousand rubles a month, nurses – 50 thousand rubles, drivers and EMTs – 25 thousand rubles. But the terms and conditions of payments were not well-defined. This resulted in an avalanche of complaints and protests from employees of hospitals and clinics who either did not get their additional payments, or got severely cut-down ones.


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