SAN SALVADOR – Some 8,000 healthcare workers at 12 Salvadoran hospitals and clinics went on strike again Feb. 9 to press demands for salary increases, a union official said.
The head of the ANTMPAS public health-care workers union, Cayetano Castro, said the strike was launched to force “the government to take our problems seriously.”
Castro said general consultations and other administrative services were suspended at San Salvador’s Benjamin Bloom children’s hospital, the country’s only facility specializing in pediatrics, and at San Bartolo Hospital east of this capital.
Health-care services were also put on hold at two other hospitals and three health centers in the eastern province of San Miguel, as well as at national hospitals in five other provinces.
The striking workers, however, said they were attending to emergencies and to patients who need prescriptions.
The health-care employees, who had staged a strike three weeks ago, are demanding the government grant them the same 10% salary increase approved for all public-sector employees in January.
El Salvador’s government, meanwhile, has said there are no funds available for the pay hike, since health-care workers –like employees in the education sector –have received annual salary increases since 1994.