Harvesting strawberries in San Quintín Harvesting strawberries in San Quintín. red política

Better health services for Baja farmworkers

But the sticky issue of wages is still under review

Some progress has been made in meeting the demands of farmworkers in Baja California, but there has been no agreement yet on salaries, the main point of contention.

One new development was the announcement this week that the national health service, IMSS, will enlarge and modernize Rural Clinic No. 69 in San Quintín, and add to the number of services it offers.

Those new services will include traumatology, surgery, ophthalmology, radiology and others, reducing the need for patients to be transferred to Ensenada.

The additional services will also reduce the number of workers who die en route to the Ensenada hospital, said farmworkers’ spokesman Fidel Sánchez.

At a meeting Thursday in Ensenada to review the progress to date, IMSS director general José Antonio González Anaya said 3,352 workers have been signed up for health coverage, 1,886 of whom had never had it. Registration cards have been delivered to more than 16,000 workers out of a total of 19,200 who have been identified.

Sixty-eight site inspections in which workers were interviewed personally found that 86% were covered by IMSS, said González.

Along with salaries, health coverage and working and living conditions have been the chief concerns of the workers.

Authorities are currently reviewing the latest salary proposals, with a decision expected within 15 working days, according to Sánchez. Three zones have been established, with salaries varying from 150 to 180 pesos a day.

There was also an agreement by authorities to conduct inspections of work sites to ensure that employers are complying with the requirement to provide social security.

The meeting was attended by Gov. Francisco Vega de la Madrid, Undersecretary of the Interior Luis Enrique Miranda Nava and representatives of the Alliance of National, State and Municipal Organizations for Social Justice.

Source: OEM (sp), El Universal (sp)

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