Be like Nina
The Be Like Nina medical movement is actually the only mass organization in Ukraine which, in the fight for the rights of medical workers, is ready to confront the authorities and hospital administration, legal proceedings and bureaucratic disputes, to large-scale actions and to effective actions.
In practice, the movement fights for gender equality, demanding decent wages in an almost exclusively female field, particularly among nurses and junior staff. And its leaders and its main asset are also predominantly women.
Be like Nina won victories that were both symbolic and very specific. We asked the activists of the Movement to cite the examples that seemed most revealing to them.
Giving nurses a voice
One of the main achievements of Sois comme Nina was called by participants "bringing nurses out of the shadows".
The movement succeeded in drawing the attention of the Ministry of Health to the violation of civil rights and the work of nurses.
The law on increasing the salaries of healthcare workers was adopted after we sent our appeal with proposals to the President, the Ministry of Health and the Cabinet of Ministers, activists point out.
In January 2022, nurses' salaries were increased to 13,500 Hryvnias [349 euros]
We have raised the issue of professional and sexist harassment in medicine. As you know, a law came into force in December 2022.
For example, thanks to the appeal of local nurses, the movement denounced the dismissal of the entire staff of a home for the elderly in the Dnipropetrovsk region, while this subject was ignored by the media.
We denounced the salary cuts in Zaporozhye, after which the healthcare workers received the appropriate payments.
Creation of a platform for unifying healthcare workers
Another major achievement of the participants of Sois comme Nina is "the creation of a platform for communication, friendship and unification of the country", where doctors, nurses and young medical staff talk together about their problems.
Caregivers from different regions, cities and villages have never been so close to each other, never shared news and problems as a group.
Currently, the Facebook group has 85,000 members, and activists point out that they organized themselves without a political component or any other external support.
Ultimately, our movement united people of a common profession and became a unique modern example for the protection of their rights.
Unification of militant unions and creation of new unions
The Be Like Nina medical movement brings together active independent unions and works to create an independent all-Ukrainian union.
Currently, among the activists are the chairman of the Myrhorod Independent Union, Oleksiy Chuprina, who is also a co-founder of the movement, and the chairman of the Nizhyn Independent Union, Olga Turochka, who, despite pressure from local authorities, was able to lead the union. The movement contributed to the creation of a union at maternity 3 of the municipal hospital in the city of Lviv. Oksana Slobodyana, director of Be Like Nina, leads the Lviv Regional Union of Medical Workers and Medical Personnel.
After the medical reform, the importance of healthcare workers' unions increased, since it is on them that the adoption of the collective agreement depends, which determines the level of salaries, bonuses, working hours, workload and other key points. Unfortunately, in practice, unions are often inactive or side with the employer.
However, Be Like Nina reminds us why unions should actually exist: to protect their members' labor rights and help them in difficult life circumstances.
The movement also supported caregivers who are fighting against cuts and non-payment of salaries in Nizhyn, Pryluky, Zaporizhzhia and many other cities.
The Be Like Nina movement is already known around the world and cooperates with friendly international organizations.
For example, activists from the movement participated in training in Poland organized by the Unions Help Refugees organization, where they also communicated with local activists working in the field of care and also fighting for improved working conditions .
Be Like Nina President Oksana Slobodyana participated in the international trade union conference CSP-Conlutas in Brazil [and a meeting of the international trade union solidarity and struggle network], where she expressed the position of Ukrainian healthcare workers regarding the Russian attack and the struggle of the Ukrainian people for freedom and a dignified life.