Government Begins COB Dialogue After Month of Refusal
Yesterday, the government reversed its position of the past month and decided to sit down to talks with Bolivia’s largest labor union, the COB. The COB had been infuriated when the government announced a 20% minimum wage increase (and 10% for government workers) without consulting the COB and they have been staging marches and demonstrations for weeks. The government had declared all of these marches “failures,” has refused to meet with the COB and indicated that the COB is out of touch with the Bolivian people. This refusal to dialogue over higher wages led the COB to bus thousands of its members to La Paz and begin blockading government buildings and setting off dynamite charges. Yesterday, the government finally buckled to the COB’s increased pressure and entered into talks to discuss higher minimum wages and changing certain government decrees. Morales clarified to the press that the government had never “closed the doors to dialogue” and that the President often meets with the leaders of social organizations to resolve conflicts. The COB declared a temporary halt to their blockades and marches as they met directly with Evo Morales and his ministers.
The results of these meetings will be known shortly and there may soon be a deal with the COB and the Morales government for an even higher minimum wage increase than the 20% that the government had unilaterally ordered.
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