At an emergency clinic in rural Moldova eight nurses received an unexpected pay cut. The nurses asked their managers why they hadn't been paid in full, and were told that they'd been performing poorly, and wouldn't be compensated. The nurses protested, and their bosses threatened to fire them and close down the medical centre. Doing so would deprive 15,000 people of local emergency healthcare.
One of the nurses, Irina*, turned to Transparency International (TI) Moldova for help. She brought a petition with her, signed by 150 local residents who were concerned about the centre's potential closure. TI Moldova helped Irina draft a letter to the county prosecutor and the state medical authorities in the capital Chişinău.
The county prosecutor claimed that there was nothing illegal in withholding a proportion of the nurses' salaries if they had been performing badly. The health centre's upper management, however, was greatly concerned by the threat to close down the centre. It assured the nurses that this wouldn't happen, and saw to it that they were paid in full for the hours they had worked.
The medical centre was not only kept open, but it was assigned additional doctors and provided with much needed ambulance equipment. The local authorities have also assured all staff members that their salaries will not be arbitrarily withheld.
* Names have been changed