Opposition Prefers Nurses’ Strike to Be Tackled by Health Committee

Head of the nurses trade union Monika Kavecka speaking to media earlier in January.

Bratislava, February 1 (TASR) – The parliamentary Opposition parties would like to address the situation concerning health care at an extraordinary health committee session rather than a parliamentary one, representatives of KDH, OLaNO, Most-Hid and SaS told TASR on Monday.

On the other hand, SDKU-DS chair Pavol Freso would prefer an extraordinary parliamentary session to discuss ways of finding €100 million in the state budget to accommodate the demands of nurses. In order to convene such a session, however, he would need to collect another 29 MP signatures.
“Convening an extraordinary session so close to the general election could be misused and turned against us. I’d much rather convene an extraordinary health committee session, where the discussion could be held directly with the [health] minister [Viliam Cislak] and nurses. Nurses can’t present their case in Parliament, so if Mr. Freso wouldn’t mind, this is how I’d go about this,” said former health minister [2010-12] and health committee member Ivan Uhliarik (KDH). “A parliamentary session might drag out for many hours, and Smer-SD, which enjoys a majority, might not approve the agenda.”
This sentiment was echoed by Most-Hid caucus chair Laszlo Solymos, who supports a committee session, as well. “Nurses can go there, too, and the whole issue can be discussed at a more expert level. However, everything rests in the hands of Smer-SD. Something can be done with both nurses and teachers, but it’s up to the Government. It’s mostly about whether the Cabinet wants to tackle this or not. At the moment it seems to me that they don’t have the situation under control,” he told TASR.
OLaNO leader Igor Matovic wants to agree on a joint approach among the Opposition first. “But the committee should meet first, and then Parliament. That’s the usual modus operandi with extraordinary sessions,” he said.
SaS MP Martin Poliacik pointed out that in all important votes in Parliament Pavol Freso has always voted in unison with Smer-SD and so “it would be more logical” for him to seek signatures for an extraordinary session among the ranks of the governing Smer-SD. “However, we prefer the same approach as with education, for which a committee session will be convened regarding the teachers’ strike. So, an expert discussion at the committee first, with an extraordinary parliamentary session following up on this if necessary,” said Poliacik.