Economy April 8, 2015 | 4:12 pm

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Union leader decries ‘secret talks’ to waylay workers’ benefits

Santo Domingo.- Labor leader Rafael Pepe-Abreu on Tuesday again warned of a nationwide shutdown on the stalled talks over a salary increase, and affirmed that the government and management meet secretly to negotiate the removal of workers’ benefits.

He said statements by Administrative minister Jose Ramon Peralta on the three-way talks, come after private meetings between employers and officials to discuss a wage increase.

The head of the labor unions grouped in the CNUS said I the meetings employers have stated their willingness to agree to "a generous salary increase," if labor agrees to amend the Labor Code. "There’ve been meetings here trying to determine that. Our message is that we will never, our federation of unions, sign an agreement to change one thing for another, ever."

Abreu noted however that labor awaits management’s concrete proposal of a percentage during the next Wage Committee meeting on April 22, but warned that they’ll start a campaign of action otherwise. "We call on the population for a general strike, our confederation is also available if needed,"

He said a study conducted by the unions found that household staples cost round RD$23,000 per month, “that’s why an increase of the minimum wage is necessary.”

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