SANTO DOMINGO – Physicians employed in Dominican public hospitals launched on Tuesday a three-day strike to press their demands that the government deliver a promised pay increase.
The third work-stoppage this month enjoys complete support from doctors, Dominican Medical Association (CMD) head Waldo Ariel Suero told a press conference at Santo Domingo’s Padre Billini Hospital.
Nurses and other health professionals back the strike, he said, declining to rule out an intensification of the CMD’s efforts to compel the government to comply fully with the November 2016 accord that mandated pay hikes for physicians.
Suero denounced Health Minister Altagracia Guzman Marcelino as “indolent” after she said that the government was meeting its commitments and demanded that the CMD abandon strikes in favor of a dialogue without conditions.
He said that the minister made it clear she will not talk with the doctors until after the Nov. 7 election to choose his successor as president of the CMD.
Guzman “is subordinating the health of the people to the CMD elections,” Suero said, accusing the minister of trying to influence the outcome of the leadership contest.
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.