Dominican doctors strike to protest firing of 400 colleagues
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -- Doctors walked off the job
for a day to protest the government's firing of 400 colleagues -- the first of what
the country's medical association says will be a series of strikes.
The 150 striking doctors at Padre Billini Hospital -- who continued to
emergency cases during the 24-hour strike -- returned to work Friday.
President Hipolito Mejia defended the firings Friday, saying it was imprudent
the previous government to hire the doctors during the transition period to his
He said he was unconcerned by the threat of more strikes -- the first by
sector workers since he took office in August -- because his governing party had
many doctors who could fill vacated posts.
"If they abandon the hospitals, that's their problem ... we have a lot
Revolutionary Party doctors," he said.
Mejia's administration has laid off hundreds of government employees hired
under the previous administration and replaced them with its own party
The Dominican Medical Association said the one-day strikes would continue
randomly selected hospitals and culminate in a nationwide strike by the Caribbean
country's 10,000 doctors.
The next strike is planned Monday at the separate Padre Billini Psychiatric
Hospital, the association said.
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.