Algiers – Algeria’s two main health care unions ended a week-long strike on Monday after government assurances on salaries and work conditions.

“Doctors have begun work again after promises made by Health Minister Djamel Ould Abbes,” said Lyes Merabet, spokesperson for the National Union of Public Health Workers according to news service, APS.

The strikers had demanded a salary hike and a modification of their professional status.

“The minister is committed to finalising the new salary grid in the next few days,” added Mohamed Yousfi, president of the National Union of Specialised Public Healthcare Workers, speaking on the radio.

Both unions represent some 30 000 members, including doctors, dentists and pharmacists.

However, the health ministry has failed to persuade 8 000 medical students – on strike for the past three months – to resume work despite a threat to dock their pay.

The students’ main demand is an end to compulsory public service, which requires them to work for up to four years in remote areas of the country after finishing their studies.

Algeria has been shaken in recent months by protests at all levels of society against the cost of living. The regime in neighbouring Tunisia collapsed earlier this year after widespread social demonstrations.