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Date: Fri, 26 Jun 98 17:32:43 CDT
From: (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Centr-Am News 6/24-20/98, Part 1
Article: 37741
Message-ID: <>

/** reg.nicaragua: 55.0 **/
** Topic: Centr-Am News 6/24-20/98, Part 1 **
** Written 3:07 PM Jun 20, 1998 by wnu in cdp:reg.nicaragua **
Centr-Am News Week of June 14 - 20, 1998 Issue XIV Part 1

Union President and Puerto Rican Privatization Czar May Hold Talks

In Weekly News Update on the Americas, Week of une 14-20, 1998

Union President and Puerto Rican Privatization Czar May Hold Talks

Jose Juan Hernandez, president of the Independent Union of Telephone Workers (UIET) and Marcos Rodriguez-Ema, president of the Puertro Rican government's Privatization Committee, each confirmed on June 13 that they are willing to meet to find a solution to the labor conflict that threatens to result in an indefinite strike.

During a joint appearnce on the radio station WSKN Hernandez said, "We're willing to reconsider the positions we've taken until now," if the new owners of the Puerto Rican Telephone Company (PRTC) guarantee the workers that they will not fire anyone, and that telephone rates will not be raised for five years.

After the radio appearance, Rodriguez-Ema told the newspaper El Nuevo Dia that he is willing to meet with Hernandez, "where he wants, when he wants." Hernandez said, in turn, "All the avenues that can lead to us, that allow us to end this controversey without dire consequences, we are willing to listen to all of them."

Hernandez made clear, however, that his willingness to sit and talk did not indicate that he had changed his position of opposing the sale of the PRTC. "We continue to be firmly opposed to the sale," he assured. However, he added, "I think nothing is absolute. Everything has a point where consensus can be achieved, and consensus must always be achieved."

When questioned by El Nuevo Dia, Hernandez even indicated that he would be willing to meet with GTE and Banco Popular, the new part-owners of the PRTC, saying, "If it's necessary to sit and negotiate with whomever, at the right moment, one has to do that."

The UIET and the Independent Brotherhood of Telephone Workers (HIETEL) are both prepared to go on strike indefinitely beginning this week, if no agreement is reached, Hernandez said June 13.

The Puerto Rican congress must still approve the sale of a 50 per cent share of the PRTC to the U.S.-based corporation GTE, which in turn plans to sell a 10 per cent share to a consortium which includes the Puerto Rico-based Banco Popular. (El Nuevo Herald, Miami, 6/16/98; El Diario La Prensa, San Juan, 6/17/98)

Weekly News Update on the Americas * Nicaragua Solidarity Network of NY 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012 * 212-674-9499 fax: 212-674-9139 *