On February 14, thousands of healthcare workers throughout Brazil mobilized to demand the implementation of the national nursing wage floor, which was approved and sanctioned by the government in a law in 2022 but was suspended by the action of a Minister of the Federal Supreme Court. UNI Global Union affiliates in Brazil took action in several states, including Minas Gerais, Bahía, São Paulo, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, and others.
The fight for the national nursing minimum wage has lasted more than 30 years, and this victory was won thanks to the work of the federations and confederations of health and nursing workers in all states. With this achievement, workers were able to set a minimum wage of R$4,750 for nurses, R$3,325 for nursing technicians and R$2,375 for nursing assistants and midwives.
“Workers can’t wait any more. The law must be implemented. In fact, hospitals and private health facilities could have already been paying the new minimum since last year,” explains Sofia Rodrigues do Nascimento, president of SinSaúde Campinas, affiliate of the Federation of Healthcare Workers of the State of São Paulo and UGT.
“It is essential to implement this law, which has already been approved, for the well-being of thousands of nursing professionals who are dedicating their lives to patient care,” explained José Maria Pereira, President of SINDEESS, the Healthcare Workers Union of Belo Horizonte and Region, affiliate of CSP Conlutas. “We know that it is very important not only to fight for the minimum wage, and also to raise wages not just for nursing, but for all healthcare workers”, he said.
For their part, Alessandra Gadelha de Mello, President of the Nurses Union of Bahia (SEEB), and Sara Novaes Mascarenhas, Director of Communications for SEEB, declared that the demonstration and work stoppage that took place on February 14, 2023 in Salvador was organized by Bahian Nursing Forum, in partnership with the National Nursing Forum:
“The purpose of this rally was for President Lula to sign a provisional measure as soon as possible, the draft of which has already been prepared by members of the Ministry of Health, class representatives and parliamentarians. With that, the Provisional Measure will have the force of law and , thus, the Wage Floor ” .
The National Nursing Minimum Wage was approved by congress and became law 14,434/2022, in August of last year. An action of unconstitutionality, promoted by employers’ institutions, was upheld by the Federal Supreme Court (STF).
Minister Luís Roberto Barroso issued an injunction suspending the effects of the law for 60 days so that a plan could be presented for funding the minimum wage for the public healthcare workers. More than 150 days have passed. The Minister of Health, Nísia Trindade, recently committed to resolving the impasse and implementing the National Nursing Minimum Wage.
The trade union entities and other organizations participating in yesterday’s actions are committed to maintaining the fight until the implementation of the Minimum Wage becomes a reality for all workers in the field.
“We congratulate our affiliates for their unity and for this day of struggle that will surely achieve the goal of the implementation of the National Nursing Minimum Wage”, said, Marcio Monzane, UNI Americas regional secretary.