Construction Workers Join Students in Strike

June 4, 2004

NEGOTIATIONS between theNational University Council and the governmentover next year’s education budgetcame to a virtual standstill this week,as students continued to protest, non-violently,for the constitutionally mandated6% of public expenditures – a sum thegovernment says it cannot afford (TT,May 21, 28).The protesting university studentswere joined this week by public-worksemployees – mostly construction workers– who rejected the government’s decisionlast week to increase the public-sectorminimum wage by 8.33% instead of 10%.The protesting construction workersclaim their monthly paycheck of $80 isnot enough to meet the rising costs of living,and are demanding an increase insalary of at least 39% of the value of thecanasta básica, a market basket of basicgoods and services.THE transportation sector, which hadbeen promising to strike in response torising gas prices (TT, May 21), this weekpostponed their planned work stoppage asthe government of President EnriqueBolaños turned to Libya for help with oilprices.

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