SANTIAGO – Chilean public employees who have disrupted the delivery of government services with a nearly four-week-old strike marched Tuesday through the streets of Santiago to express their rejection of the government’s pay-hike proposal.
Those workers are refusing to accept a 3.2 percent salary increase and instead are calling for a 4 percent pay hike, down three percentage points from their initial demand.
“The 3.2 percent figure has to move because in real terms that’s a 0.2 percent (increase), which is the weakest in recent years. It’s not fair, it’s not appropriate,” the president of the National Association of Public Employees, Raul de la Puente, said Tuesday in an interview with Chilean public broadcaster TVN.
Hundreds of people marched Tuesday along the La Alameda thoroughfare to the Los Heroes metro station calling for a “dignified” salary increase.
Government spokesperson Marcelo Diaz, however, called on the public employees to show “understanding and flexibility” and accept the salary hike offer, which comes after various failed attempts to reach a negotiated solution.
“The government has been making efforts every day and will keep doing so. We want to solve this problem because it’s harming ordinary citizens,” Diaz said.
“We’ve tried to adopt all the measures at the government’s disposal to steadily mitigate the consequences of a shutdown that’s affecting the daily lives of the Chilean people,” he added.