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Volume 17, Number 13
December 29, 2011
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Also in this section:
Martinelli tries to weather scandals and avoid cabinet changes
Election law changes, another stab at the Mining Code in January
"Conejando" in Panama: what big ears Colombia's exiled spy chief has
Main canal expansion contractor barely staves off bankruptcy --- for now
Noriega settles in at El Renacer, legal skirmishing begins
Martinelli gets his solid Supreme Court majority
Residents and interns on strike at David hospital
Vaclav Havel’s human rights legacy
The failure of the Durban climate talks
The ECB's high wire act
The Internet and Latin America: cyber-security issues
The China - Latin America summit in Lima
South America consolidates its role as an emerging power
South America and Cold War II
When Italian waste companies come here, red flags should pop up

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Ricardo Martinelli. Photo by the Presidencia


A Panamanian-style doctors' strike, quite foreseeable under the circumstances

Interns and residents walk out in David

by Eric Jackson

Wait a minute --- wasn't the month-long doctors' strike settled? Yes it was, and even though the Martinelistas made a show of not living up to the exact letter of the agreement that ended it, they came close enough so that the strike did not resume. This is another strike.

It's an important part of the Martinelista narrative to bash the labor unions, and to portray government workers as totally unreasonable and irresponsible about their duties to the detriment of the general public. Another doctors' strike serves to reinforce that image.

How do you get health care professionals to strike? At the Jose Domingo de Obaldia Hospital in David, they put the 30 or so interns and residents on the Ministry of Health's "special emergency" payroll. As in, they get paid if and when there is money to spare from regular items in the ministry's budget. As in, the interns and residents didn't get paid for the first half of December, or the 13th month payment that was also due in December. On December 22, with Christmas approaching, they walked out.

But it was a figurative walkout, in the grand tradition of Panamanian medical strikes. The interns and residents reported for duty on their assigned shifts and have been there in case they were urgently needed in case of an emergency that the regular hospital staff couldn't handle, but they didn't work.

Nobody in the Martinelli cabinet bothered to comment. Regional officials in the ministry said that they "hoped" to pay the interns and residents what the law said they should have been paid on December 15, but explained that there was little that they could do because the doctors were on an "emergency" payroll.

On December 23, the chaotic last banking day before Christmas, the doctors were finally paid. However, their strike continues. They are demanding a "stable payroll," rather than this faux emergency status without regular paydays.







    

Also in this section:
Martinelli tries to weather scandals and avoid cabinet changes
Election law changes, another stab at the Mining Code in January
"Conejando" in Panama: what big ears Colombia's exiled spy chief has
Main canal expansion contractor barely staves off bankruptcy --- for now
Noriega settles in at El Renacer, legal skirmishing begins
Martinelli gets his solid Supreme Court majority
Residents and interns on strike at David hospital
Vaclav Havel’s human rights legacy
The failure of the Durban climate talks
The ECB's high wire act
The Internet and Latin America: cyber-security issues
The China - Latin America summit in Lima
South America consolidates its role as an emerging power
South America and Cold War II
When Italian waste companies come here, red flags should pop up



© 2011 by Eric Jackson
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