Work stoppage in public hospitals

Healthcare workers in the public health network went on strike last week.   The public health network provides medical care for the poor -- that is, for everyone not enrolled in the social security system by virtue of having a job in the formal economy.   So far the Ministry of Health indicates that more than 33,000 medical consultations and surgeries have been cancelled in local health clinics and hospitals around the country.

The workers have gone out on strike over pay issues and the failure to include an acceptable pay scale in the national budget for 2014.   President Mauricio Funes is sympathetic to the complaints about the pay scale, but indicates that he will not give in to healthcare workers who threaten the health of Salvadorans by going out on strike.   Funes has said that the country's weak finances make it very difficult to find money in the budget for this sector.