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Talks Between Striking Polish Nurses and Government to Open

Talks are to open between the Polish government and striking nurses who have been camping outside the prime minister's office in Warsaw for the past week, a union official said Tuesday .

Four nurses who had been occupying the cabinet office in support of their campaign for better pay left Tuesday after "an hour's meeting with Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski", said Dorota Gardias, head of the OZZPP national nurses' union.

She was one of the four nurses taking part in the occupation.

Gardias told several hundred of her colleagues camping in some 150 tents outside the government building that Kaczynski had proposed fresh talks on Wednesday afternoon to discuss their claims.

"We shall go to this meeting. But our struggle is not over: things will be clearer tomorrow," she said.

Kaczynski had previously refused to talk to the nurses as long as their representatives continued to "break the law" by pursuing the occupation.

Kaczynski's conservative government is already facing a go-slow by hospital doctors, who since May 21 have been refusing to provide all but emergency medical services or carry out administrative duties.

The OZZL physicians' union has threatened to launch a hunger strike unless the government gives in to its demands for a massive pay hike.

Health service salaries are very low in Poland, with a nurse earning around 290 to 340 euros (390 to 457 dollars) a month and a hospital doctor 395 euros (530 dollars), not counting overtime.


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