SANTO DOMINGO – Physicians employed in Dominican public hospitals mounted a one-day strike on Wednesday and are planning a longer work stoppage for next week, the Dominican Medical Association CMD said.
The current strategy calls for a 48-hour strike to begin next Wednesday, CMD president Waldo Ariel Suero told EFE.
The dispute centers on pay issues and high levels of unemployment among health professionals.
The walkout has forced affected hospitals to limit themselves to handling emergency cases and treating patients in critical condition.
Suero addressed a rally at Santo Domingo’s Francisco Moscoso Puello Hospital, where CMD members burned National Health Service director Nelson Rodriguez Monegro in effigy.
The CMD has been driven to “radicalize” its position by the government’s failure to fully deliver on a promised pay hike, by salary arrears of up to three months for first-year medical residents and by rising joblessness in the health sector, Suero said.
He said he has not received any proposal from the government in response to the doctors’ grievances.
“If they want to talk, then let’s talk. They know my telephone number,” Suero said.
Last November, after more than six months of negotiations punctuated by strikes, the CMD and the government reached accord on a 25 percent salary increase, to be phased in over the course of this year.
The CMD says that more than 5,000 physicians have yet to receive the second installment of the pay hike, which was to take effect in August.