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HEALTH SERVICE

Healthcare workers hold surprise protest in Senate

Strike renewed against privatization plans for hospitals

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Madrid healthcare workers protest privatization plans in the Senate on Tuesday. EFE

A second round in the healthcare workers strike in Madrid over the regional government’s privatization plans began on Tuesday with protestors dressed in white holding a surprise demonstration inside the Senate.

Figures as to how many workers stayed away from their jobs differed between the unions and government officials. Madrid’s health commissioner said that less than 20 percent of employees didn’t show up for work at primary clinics and hospitals, while the unions, which called the third day in the ongoing strikes a success, put the absentee rate at 90 percent.

Workers, who number about 75,000 in the region, are protesting a plan to privatize or outsource services at six public hospitals and 27 clinics across the region. Two other 24-hour strikes were held last week.

A group of health professionals took advantage of the Senate’s open house to the general public to walk in with visitors and staged a demonstration.