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Central American University - UCA  
  Number 161 | Diciembre 1994
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Nicaragua

NICARAGUA BRIEFS

Envío team

A STRIKE WARNING

On October 25, 80% of the health workers throughout Nicaragua stopped their labors for a day, except for emergency care, to demand a 100% salary increase and a better supply of medicines and other needs for patients in the hospitals and health centers. The health worker unions warned that this was just the first shot across the bow, and more will come if their demands are not met.

Minister of Health Marta Palacios had requested 716 million córdobas in the 1995 draft budget, but was only given 477 million, of which 60% goes to salaries. Palacios fought publicly and hard for her ministry's needs and defended the workers' demands and their right to strike, thus creating strong tensions with the finance ministry.

FETSALUD general secretary Gustavo Porras had warned at the beginning of the year that, if health services do not improve, Nicaragua would face dangerous epidemics of malaria, cholera and dengue by the end of the rainy season, which is just what has happened. The country is at the point of declaring a "national health emergency."
LABOR CODE APPROVED

The National Assembly approved a new Labor Code on October 28, after letting the bill languish in committee for nearly three years. Leaders of the business umbrella organization COSEP announced that they will ask President Chamorro to veto some of its articles. They argue that the code is anti national because it would discourage investment and make Nicaragua uncompetitive. COSEP is particularly riled about the severance compensations established for laid off workers, which it claims are excessive.

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