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Society ‘We want salary recognition’, says vice president of the nurses union of SP

Record shows a nursing professional in a health unit in Pará. (Divulgation/Agência Pará)

Wesley Diego – from Cenarium

SÃO PAULO – The peak of the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the essentiality of nursing professionals and, according to the Bill 2564/2020, in progress in the Senate, demands the establishment of a national wage floor to nursing professionals and auxiliary activities, since these workers “put their own health at risk to save other people’s lives.

“We don’t want applause, we want recognition through a regulated salary floor. People are forced to look for a second or third job. The job market demands that we are trained, seeking knowledge, specializations… Nurses never stop studying. But we have no recognition, no financial return”, says Péricles Cristiano Batista Flores, a nurse for 28 years and vice-president of the Sindicato dos Enfermeiros do Estado de São Paulo (SEESP).

In a post on Twitter, Senator Fabiano Contarato (Rede/ES), author of PL 2564/2020, says that the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, promised to put the text to a vote in the plenary. “It will be put to a vote later this month, once the agreement among party leaders is maintained”, said Contarato.

Contarato considers the current salary difference of the category to be unfair: “the fixation of the national salary floor to nursing professionals and auxiliary activities is an essential repair to be done. It is necessary to remember that in the health career the wage disparity is evident and remarkable, just compare the remuneration of Physicians with that of Nurses”, and ends the text of the law saying that “it is the best homage that we can make to these professionals”.

The Regional Council of Nursing of São Paulo (Coren-SP) follows and participates in the discussions and the movement in Congress, and considers the approval of the project in Brasilia to be fundamental. For the president of Coren-SP, James Francisco Pedro dos Santos, who spoke with CENARIUM, the support to the category is necessary to safeguard health professionals.

“This is the great public defense of Coren-SP, at this moment, on the most varied fronts, whether in the inspection for safe care, in the fight for the salary floor and the 30-hour work week, or in the manifestation against representations that distort the image of the profession: that nursing be recognized for its technical importance, for its professional autonomy, and for its greatness”, says the president of Coren-SP.

James Francisco Pedro dos Santos (Divulgação/Coren-SP)

Law Project x Reality

After the category’s mobilization, Senator Eliziane Gama (Citizenship/MA) presented an amendment to Contarato’s proposal, which asks for a floor of R$4.750 for Nurses, 70% of this value for Nursing Technicians (R$3.325) and 50% (R$2.375) for Nursing Assistants. In addition to wages, the class is asking for a 30-hour work day. Today, many professionals work double shifts or work in different places to make up the income. 

The complaint of the category is well-founded. In a quick search on the Internet, CENARIUM found vacancies for Nursing Technicians and Nurses with low pay. The Vitória da Conquista City Hall, in Bahia, offers vacancies for Nursing Technicians, with 40 hours per week and a monthly salary of R$ 1,177.84, about 35% of the estimated salary for Technicians in the PL.

Image: Excerpt from the public notice of the Vitória da Conquista/BA public contest

In Pernambuco, the precariousness of the profession is even more evident. The city of Flores, in the eastern part of the state, offers R$ 1,000 (US$ 1,000) per month for a position as a nurse, almost 25% of the amount in the Senate. The requirement for the position is a full college degree in Nursing and registration in the Regional Council of Nursing.

Excerpt from the public notice of the public competition of Flores/PE

Nursing in the Pandemic

Healthcare professionals have found a war scenario during the pandemic, and the area most affected by Covid-19 is that of nursing professionals. According to data from the Observatório de Enfermagem, from the Conselho Federal de Enfermagem, there have been 869 deaths in the country since March 2020. In São Paulo, there were 104, the last one recorded in June of this year. 

The presence of high levels of anxiety and stress related to work can make the nursing professional vulnerable, creating mental disorders. A recent survey by Coren-SP, shows that 62% of the professionals in the state said they had developed mental suffering during the pandemic due to work overload, lack of working conditions, fear and anxiety. 

A World Health Organization (WHO) report estimates that worldwide between 80,000 and 180,000 may have died from Covid-19 in the period between January 2020 and May 2021. “We are the category that suffers the most from this emotional compulsion, from exhaustion, from excessive exposure to work in order to support ourselves”, denounces Pericles Flores.