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Nurses demonstrate for higher pay as strike looms

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Nurses demonstrate for higher pay as strike looms
12:14 CEST+02:00
Nurses took to the streets in Stockholm and Gothenburg on Sunday to demonstrate for higher pay. A strike beckons on Monday as mediators called off talks on Saturday.

Negotiations between healthcare employers and unions broke off in deadlock on Saturday afternoon. A strike now seems inevitable on Monday as nurses and other healthcare professionals demand higher pay.

The Swedish Association of Healthcare Professionals (Vårdförbundet) sat down in a final attempt to secure a deal with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) on Saturday.

According to SALAR's press spokesperson Claes Bertilson, by late afternoon negotiations had broken down in stalemate.

"This means that everything indicates that a strike will break out on Monday."

Around 1,000 healthcare professionals marched from Götaplatsen to Gustaf Adolfs torg in Gothenburg's town centre as a show of union strength in preparation for the pending strike. Among them were nurses Evelyn Sjöberg and Marianne Persson.

"We are ready for conflict but it is clear that something is wrong when one has to go out on strike," the nurses said to news agency TT as the demonstration wound its way through the western Swedish town.

The demonstrators held up banners bearing slogans such as "We want fair pay," "We are worth it," and "Undervalued but vital."

"People study to become nurses today, but it doesn't pay. At the same time we have to accept substantial responsibility." said Evelyn Sjöberg.

If the strike is not avoided at the eleventh hour then 3,500 nurses will go on strike across Sweden on Monday. This will have an immediate effect on scheduled healthcare, such as the need to re-schedule planned operations. Problems for the third-party to the conflict--the patients--are expected to be substantial.

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