Hundreds of nurses and surgical assistants in Argentina marched on Wednesday to press for pay increases, professional recognition and improved working conditions in the teeth of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"What we want is recognition as professional nurses because we’re on the front line, we fall sick with Covid and infect our families without decent pay," said Cynthia, a 33-year-old nurse who would not give her surname told AFP while marching in the pouring rain.
Those trained in nursing, bio-imaging and surgical instrumented demand to be included in the professional career legislation of the City of Buenos Aires after being excluded two years ago and redefined as administrative staff on lower pay.
"To reach the family shopping-basket, we need two jobs, which is exhausting for us in the front line of the battlefield. It’s important that they recognise our careers as professional so that we can be paid correspondingly," said another nurse María Eugenia Lazarte.
In September a family household of four needed an income of 47,216 pesos to avoid falling below the poverty line, according to the INDEC national statistics bureau. A nurse collected a basic wage of 35,000 pesos whereas recognition of a professional career would permit them to earn basic pay of 54.000 pesos, the marchers denounced.
Argentina started the week by reaching the million mark of Covid-19 cases (of whom around a sixth remain infected) with over 27,000 deaths. Recent months have seen quarantine measures relaxed in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area (AMBA) with the focus of contagion switching to inland provinces.