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One Hundred Hospitals Strike, But No Medical Crisis Reported

One Hundred Hospitals Strike, But No Medical Crisis Reported

Posted June. 10, 2004 21:24,   


Among the 121 hospitals belonging to the National Labor Union of Health and Medical Industries of the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), 100 went on strike on June 10, including Seoul National University Hospital.

Although the schedule of surgeries in these hospitals were a little bit delayed due to the strike on this day, the alarming medical crisis didn’t occur because they continued to work normally at the necessary facilities such as emergency rooms and surgery rooms, and visiting patients received medical treatment as usual.

The two sides of labor and management, the health labor union and hospital associations, resumed their 15th round of negotiation at the Anam Hospital of Korea University at 7 p.m. on this day, and discussed the major problems such as the “weekday work system,” meeting with difficulties.

Although, in advance of this, the Central Labor Commission had continued its activities of mediation up to 4 a.m. on this day, it decided on a “temporary suspension of authoritative mediation,” as the disagreement of opinion did not narrow, that permits the strike on the condition of maintaining hospital’s fundamental functions such as emergency rooms, surgery rooms, intensive care units, maternity wards, and newborn baby wards.

The CLC has also decided to directly send the case to authoritative mediation if medical services in large size hospitals are suspended or fundamental functions of hospitals such as emergency rooms are not maintained.

On this day, 300 labor union members in Seoul National University Hospital gathered on the second floor lobby and picketed, shouting catchwords like, “Win over the weekday work system!” However, due to the normal operation of fundamental medical work and treatment of visiting patients, no fiasco occurred.

At Anam Hospital of Korea University, medical work has been carried out as usual because only off-duty members of the labor union participated in the strike. “Since the numbers of participants in the strike is low, and we have thrown in volunteers to substitute, there has been no problem by far,” said an employee of the hospital. However, the average numbers of surgeries a day carried out in Seoul National Hospital have been reduced from 110 to 69, and lunch boxes were delivered to substitute for the meals of some patients. Anam Hospital of Korea University has also postponed 20 surgeries on this day.

Forty-five-year-old Kim Su-kyung, a mother of a patient hospitalized in Seoul National University Hospital said, “I can understand the strikes of nurses to some extent, but am still anxious if the strike to be prolonged.” She added, “Urgent surgeries and medical treatment should not be delayed due to the strike.”