Just over one month after an estimated 20,000 health care workers went on strike in Oaxaca, the protests have ended and most were to return to their workplaces today.
The decision to go back to work was reached by the local leadership of the national health workers’ union, the SNTSA, after their demands to the state and federal governments were met, most notably the resignation of state Health Secretary Juan Díaz Pimentel.
Upon being appointed to the position and in an attempt to sort out the finances of the state’s health care system, Díaz announced the sacking of some 8,000 health workers who had been irregularly hired.
So far, some 3,000 of those have been formally dismissed, 1,000 of which were reportedly found to have been receiving a paycheck but doing no discernible work.
Díaz said he was stepping down to contribute towards a harmonic relationship between physicians and nurses and the state government.
SNTSA leader Marco Félix Pacheco announced that close to 20,000 physicians and nurses would return to work today in at least 12 hospitals and 500 rural clinics throughout the eight regions of the state.
But several hospitals in the cities of Oaxaca and Tlacolula and in the Coast, Mixtec and Isthmus of Tehuantepec regions will continue under a partial strike because staff believe their most important demands have not been met.
According to one report, half the union membership is in disagreement with lifting the strike, and have accused the union leadership of doing so unilaterally.
Deputy union leader Alberto Vázquez Sangermán said no effective solutions to their original demands have been offered, and that the appointment of a new health secretary would not solve anything.
The remaining protesters also demanded that construction of an intensive care unit at the Civil Hospital of Oaxaca city continue, along with the completion of a renovation of the oncology unit.