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PUERTO RICO
Government jobs slashed
6/4/2009
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Nearly 8,000 public sector workers jobs cut by government fighting fiscal crisis.

The government of Puerto Rico in late May fired more than 7,816 public sector workers, as officials scrambled to stave off the affects of a fiscal crisis they say was brought on by the previous administration.

Earlier this year, Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño announced that the island´s government is bankrupt, and that he would take drastic measures, including cutting some 30,000 public sector jobs that he said

Fired workers had posts in the education, health care and electricity sectors, among others. Most of the education workers are substitute teachers.

Puerto Rico´s fiscal deficit currently stands at more than US$3.2 billion, and Fortuño, who took office in January, had been told that the deficit was 400 percent less.

The government plans to give the cut workers six months´ of private health care, $5,000 to go back to school and $2,500 for relocation costs.

The government also said another nearly 2,600 workers would sign on for a plan to resign voluntarily to receive government incentives.

Police were exempt from the cuts.

Puerto Rico´s current unemployment rate is already close to 15 percent.

Luis Pedraza Leduc, spokesman for the Coordinadora Sindical y del Frente Amplio de Solidaridad y Lucha, an umbrella group of unions, including teachers´ and health care workers´ representatives, said he would not rule out marches throughout Puerto Rico to protest the measures. Protests are planned in San Juan for June 5.
—Latinamerica Press.


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