Leprosy Workers Begin Strike
CEBU CITY, Philippines (AP) _ About 150 workers at a leprosy sanitarium, including current and former patients, began a sit-down strike today to demand regular employment and benefits.
Taking part in the protest were part-time nurse’s aides, carpenters, security guards and other workers at the Eversely Childs Sanitarium, a government-run hospital in Mandaue, near Cebu City 300 miles south of Manila.
Protest leader Ramo Cedeno, 35, a patient due for discharge in a few months, said his group wanted permanent employment status and benefits such as insurance, sick leave and pensions given to regular employees.
Hospital director Dr. Conrado Pineda met with a delegation of protesters but told them he could not meet their demands without approval from the Department of Health in Manila.
Pineda told reporters he opposed meeting the demands and wanted to phase out the part-time workers. He said many of them were former patients who wanted to remain affiliated with the hospital to receive medical care and food.
″They should not be staying behind and becoming permanent wards of the state,″ he said.
The hospital has about 340 patients.