Government tries to undercut union calls for general strike Tuesday

The central government is trying to counter public employee unhappiness with a six-month pay raise of less than half a percent.

The Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados has joined with the Asociación Nacional de Educadores and the Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza in planning a general strike Tuesday. They are expected to be joined by other groups of public employees who are unhappy about something.

In an effort to defuse the strike, the Ministerio de Educación Pública said Friday that the salaries of teachers have gone up an average of 154 percent over the last few years, and even correct for inflation the increase has been about 90 percent. The ministry also said that fiscal reform was indispensable for an annual average of 8 percent increase in salaries.

The minister, Leonardo Garnier Rímolo, included graphs with his statements that showed a steady increase in base salary and also extra payments to teachers for various reasons.

The unions call for a general strike has focused attention on the public employee salaries with some commentators saying that those in government service are making as much as 50 percent more than those with the same job in the private sector.

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