Striking nurses have accused the Honduran government of treating them like animals, vowing that they will keep going until demands for increased pay and an end to the threat of dismissal are met.
Their union, the Association of Nurses and Auxiliary Nurses in Honduras (Aneeah), has urged the government of President Juan Orlando Hernandez to respond to the nurses’ requests and “avoid violating the right to health of citizens.”
Nurses have been on strike since last Monday over the Ministry of Health’s plans to sack auxiliary nurses and replace them with other professionals, along with the government’s refusal to enter negotiations over a pay rise.
They want a pay rise of one thousand lempiras ($40) by 2021. But they are being rebuffed by the government which halted previous negotiations without warning.
Aneesh has urged the government to restore the “environment of reconciliation” and reach a “fair and non-discriminatory solution” to the dispute.
The Honduran government has faced mass strikes and protests from public-sector workers, including teachers and doctors, over its plans to privatise the health and education sectors.
Protesters have been met with a heavy-handed response as the military and security services were mobilised against them during last year’s protests, firing tear gas and live ammunition into crowds.
Hernandez has faced growing calls for his resignation with the poverty rate increasing more than 10 percent in Honduras since the 2009 Washington-backed coup — now standing at roughly 70 per cent of the population.