Spanish unions have launched a prograrmme of rolling strikes in May and early June against the regional government’s plans to privatise health services in Madrid.
The unions have called this fresh wave of strikes on May 7, 16, 22, 29 and June 4
Six hospitals are to be privatised by the Popular Party administration in the capital, which also rules nationally.
The right-wing government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has slashed health spending by seven billion euros ($9.1 billion) a year as part of a campaign to slash the budget by 150 billion euros by 2014.
The Madrid regional government plans to outsource management of six of 20 large public hospitals and of 27 health centres of the 270 in the region. It argues the measure is needed to secure health services during a steep recession and meet deficit-reduction targets.
But Spanish healthcare workers and patients say private providers will put profits before quality and lead to a deterioration of the public health system.
Only last Sunday, as many as 70,000 doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, many wearing white lab coats, and their supporters marched in Madrid.