Striking health workers in Oaxaca turned up the heat today by taking a page from the playbook of their education counterparts and blocking the three principal accesses to Oaxaca city.
Physicians and nurses with the National Union of Health Secretariat Workers declared an indefinite strike that began last weekend, claiming that the administration of Governor Gabino Cué diverted close to 1 billion pesos (US $54 million) from their retirement fund to pay the salaries of new staff hired between 2012 and 2014.
The striking workers also accuse the state government of misappropriating money they deposited in a workers’ savings account managed by the Federal Employees’ Social Security Institute, ISSSTE.
They say the misappropriation has caused many workers to appear as defaulters or slow payers before the ISSSTE, an entity that also manages housing credits.
“Many of our colleagues now appear in the Credit Bureau despite having made their payments every 15 days. The Health Secretariat used those payments for something else,” said the leader of the union local Section 35, Carlos Pérez Bautista.
During the weekend, close to 500 hospitals and clinics in the 570 municipalities in the state offered only emergency and in-patient hospital services.
The union reported that members from the Central Valleys and Sierra regions would participate “massively” in the strike, and clinics in those areas will only provide emergency and in-patient hospital services. Laboratories, kitchens and other strategic areas will remain staffed.
In the remaining six regions, only 30% of the unionized health workers will participate in the strike.
The union said 12,000 members were participating in the work stoppage.
Tomorrow and Friday they plan to occupy and block access to various government offices in the city while in other regions of the state they intend to blockade highways.