Water commission workers demand their pay. Water commission workers protest to demand bonus payments.

Staff bonuses unpaid, as is the electric bill

3,000 bonuses unpaid, thousands without water due to financial crisis in Guerrero

More than 3,000 municipal employees in Chilpancingo are waiting for their year-end bonuses amid a financial crisis that has also caused cuts to essential services in the Guerrero capital.

One of those is electricity: service has been cut off because of an overdue account with the electricity commission.

Disgruntled municipal workers took to the streets Monday to demand that Mayor Jesús Tejeda Vargas pay them the money they are owed. They said 3,200 employees hadn’t received their aguinaldos, or Christmas bonuses

One unhappy worker said that they usually receive the bonus between December 9 and 12 along with pay checks for the entire month, but this year only a payment for the first half of the month was forthcoming.

“In accordance with the law, the aguinaldo can be paid up until December 20 but by custom it’s always paid before the vacation period starts, the last work day was Friday and we don’t have the deposit,” Salvador Vargas Salguero said.

“We cannot allow them to further postpone the payment of this benefit because it’s a constitutional right . . .” he added.

Workers from the Chilpancingo Water and Sewer Commission (Capach) went on strike to demand their bonuses and reported that the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) had cut off electricity to the organization because of a four-million-peso (US $205,000) debt.

A local union leader, Asunción Rodríguez Flores, said that thousands of city residents in 30 neighborhoods didn’t have any water at their homes as a result and they too have taken to the streets in protest.

Capach employees took over the commission’s facilities yesterday and also blocked a main avenue that passes behind the municipal hall. If they hadn’t received their benefits by the close of business today they were going to switch off the water supply to the whole city.

They too blame interim Mayor Tejeda Vargas of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) for the disaster.

Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo Flores said earlier in the week that he was aware of the problem affecting the municipality  and was willing to do what was necessary to resolve it.

However, according to the most recent media reports from earlier today, the workers still hadn’t received their benefits and the protests continued.

Source: Reforma (sp), El Sol de Acapulco (sp), El Universal (sp), Quadratin (sp)

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