March 9, 2014
De la Sota threatens to sanction public workers
Six hospitals in Córdoba province are still operating with limited services following a protest by health workers demanding wage hikes, while Governor José Manuel de la Sota threatened to sanction them if they refuse to lift the measures.
The protests that were launched more than two weeks ago are being led by the State Workers Association (ATE), the Health Workers Union (UTS) and Médicos Unidos, who reject the agreement that the Public Workers Union (SEP) signed with the provincial government for the payment of a end-year bonus.
“If the conflict is not solved by Monday, I will take measures. They cannot fail to acknowledge the deal with the province over a Christmas bonus,” De la Sota warned.
Among those hospitals running on a skeleton staff for emergencies are the Children’s Hospital, the Rawson Hospital, the San Roque Hospital and the Provincial Maternity.
De la Sota said he was “tired of unions resorting to pressure methods” instead of calling for dialogue with the local authorities.
Unions staging the protests insist on discussing a wage hike to make up for inflation.
But Health Minister Francisco Fortuna said potential raises for workers of the sector “will be announced in a timely manner.” Fortuna added that this year’s raise was of 27 percent and “is valid until February 2014.”
A province on fire
Last Saturday, bus drivers ended their own protest after accepting an offer for a 28 percent wage hike to be paid in two installments.
“I will not be drawn to the negotiating table by pressure methods again,” De la Sota told radio station Cadena 3.
It was the end of a 30-hour strike that left 300,000 Córdoba residents without transportation to nearby cities.
Herald staff with Télam
Governor’s popularity plunges. Following the lootings and police strike that engulfed Córdoba on December 3 and 4, Governor José Manuel de la Sota’s popularity has plunged, according to a poll released yesterday by La Voz del Interior, a daily owned by the Clarín Group. Almost 75 percent of Córdoba City dwellers have a negative opinion of De la Sota’s job performance — 42 per cent “negative” and 32 per cent, “very negative” — according to the survey that was conducted December 16 to 19 among 400 adults by W. Sicchar consultancy. A similar percentage, 65 percent, consider the police “not, or little, trustworthy” expresses the poll. One third of Córdoba citizens blame De la Sota for the crisis, followed by “social-class division” (20.1 percent), President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (14.8) and police officers (12.9 percent). In October, before the strike, De la Sota’s approval rating was about 65 percent, according to the survey.