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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 98 09:11:16 CST
From: Haiti Progres <haiticom@blythe.org>
Organization: Haiti Progres
Subject: This Week in Haiti 15:44 1/21/98
Article: 26140

Gonaives: Public Employees Strike over Wages and Conditions

From Haiti Progres, Vol. 15, no. 44
January 21-27 1998

Since Jan. 12, prosecutors and justices of the peace in Gonaives have walked off the job to demand better working conditions and higher wages. The local district attorney, Kenaze Jean Baptiste, told the press that prosecutors were striking to force the Justice Minister to give them a salary which conforms to the cost of living.

Meanwhile, according to the justices of the peace, even auxiliary police officers earn more than they do. They say that they will not go back to work until their demands for better offices and salaries are met.

On Jan. 15, employees at the Development Office for the Plain of Gonaives (ODPG) sent an ultimatum to their bosses. Citing the effectiveness of their work, they demanded a wage hike in 10 days or else they too would strike, at a time when the season's bean harvest would be threatened.

Employees at the Providence Hospital in Gonaives also went out on strike last week to demand better working conditions and a wage increase. They say that Health Minister Jean Moliere has been bluffing them with promises. They assert that the situation at the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, where workers have struck several times, is no different from that at the Providence Hospital, where patients suffer because the staff has no means to give them proper care. The morgue is still not functioning after almost 8 months, and the employees have to buy ice on which to put the dead until their families can arrange their burial.