For five days now, union employees of El Salvador's court system have been on strike. As a consequence, more than a thousand court hearings have been cancelled, bodies have gone unidentified in the forensic medicine office, and more than 87 prisoners have been released for failure to have an initial hearing within 72 hours of being arrested..
The unions are demanding raises of between 100 and 150 dollars per month for their members, but court officials state there is no available money to grant the raises. Court officials have also been blasting union leaders who officials say receive a salary but do not perform any work. La Prensa Grafica is reporting that union leaders receive multiple fringe benefits and also manage to get many relatives placed on the court system payroll as well.
The workers have called on religious leaders and the country's human rights ombudsman to act as mediators. Oscar Luna, the PDDH, agreed to act as a mediator on Friday. Meanwhile police sources told El Faro that they have postponed arresting criminals so that the criminals would not be freed because of the lack of a hearing in 72 hours.
Meanwhile, the next sector of government workers planning to go on strike are the teachers, who plan to strike on Monday, January 24, the start of the new school year.