Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hunger strike continues

The National Catholic Reporter has a story this week about the hunger strike of laid off Salvadoran government workers. The article provides some of the background about the strike:

In an effort to downsize, the Salvadoran government instituted a policy that included laying off workers or shifting them from the payroll to contract status. Contract employees receive no benefits or social security and can find themselves out of a job when their contracts -- which are generally for one year -- end.

The protesting workers were shifted to contract status when the ministries of Justice, Interior and Security were merged to form the current Ministry of Governance and Public Safety in 2001.

“The government doesn’t take into account all the years that the employee worked for the state. It’s a way to get rid of them,” said Mila Carbajal, a lawyer at the Jesuit-run Central American University’s Human Rights Institute.

Local media reports said that most of the protesters had worked for the government for more than 20 years. After the merger, they worked under contract, but those contracts were not renewed this year.

The hunger strike has continued outside San Salvador's Metropolitan Cathedral since May 26.

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