The leader of one of Portugal’s largest nurses’ unions went on hunger strike Wednesday after the government declared the surgical nurse walkout illegal and threatened to impose penalties on nurses taking part in the strike.
Nurses are demanding better working conditions and pay, with nurses in hospitals across Portugal went on strike Jan. 31.
The strike was organized by the Democratic Union of Nurses and the Portuguese Association of Nurses and is supposed to run until Feb. 28, but the government declared the strike unlawful on Tuesday.
The Portuguese Association of Nurses called off the strike following the government’s declaration, but the Democratic Union of Nurses is continuing the strike and the union’s president Carlos Ramalho began a hunger strike. The union said Ramalho plans to continue the hunger strike outside the presidential palace until the government agrees to negotiate with nurses.