Tahiti Doctors Strike Over Colleague’s Conditional Salary Cut

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Female physician’s pay slashed to gain permanent hospital position

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 21, 2013) – A former president of the doctors union in French Polynesia says a solution to the strike in Tahiti is a new law to stop salary reductions in new permanent contracts.

More than a hundred doctors at several hospitals, including Tahiti’s Taaone Hospital, have gone on strike in support of a female doctor who had her salary cut by about US$22 a month, as a condition of gaining a permanent position at the hospital.

Dr. Jean-Paul Theron, who now works for the agriculture ministry, says parliament should amend or introduce a new law.

"To change the statute of the public doctor in French Polynesia, to avoid the point of the rule which indicates that a new graduate, having passed the contest to become a permanent doctor, must be paid the same salary he had before, when he was a temporary doctor."

Dr. Jean-Paul Theron says he expects the strike, which began on Wednesday, to be over by the end of next week.

[PIR editor’s note: Theron added that he suspects there is a political motive behind the strike in Tahiti, possibly aimed at attracting attention to next month's elections. He says almost all of the doctors at Taaone Hospital are from France, and if French Polynesia gains more independence, they may fear their salaries will change.]

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