2000News

Public Employee Salaries to Rise 10%

President Hipólito Mejía announced a 10% increase in the salaries of public employees. The raise is scheduled to take effect on January 1st, and will be reflected in public employees’ January paychecks. Nevertheless, the salary increment received a lukewarm reception by labor leaders. Within hours of Mejia’s announcement, Juan Hubieres, head of the National New Option Transport Federation (FNTNO), said that the President’s announcement was a good sign, but that it does not reflect the economic reality of the present-day DR. Ramon Perez Figueroa, head of the National Center of United Teamsters (CNTU) was more outspoken, saying that anything less than a 35% increase would provoke strikes and work stoppages throughout the coming year. The head of the left wing New Alternative Party called Mejia’s wage proposal "ridiculous," especially after the approval of the new tax package known as the "paquetazo." Mejia wasted no time in firing back at critics. "That’s what I’ve offered and that’s what it will be," Mejia curtly told reporters who related to him the dissatisfaction of the labor unions’ representatives. At the same time, Celso Marranzini, head of the National Private Enterprise Council (CONEP), and Andres Dauhajre, head of the National Business Union (UNE), two powerful business organizations, both announced that the private sector would go along with the across-the-board 10% salary increases.