Bolivia Averts Transport Strike After Talks With Unions

LA PAZ, June 20 (BERNAMA-NNN-PRENSA LATINA) -- After several hours of negotiations, Bolivia's government reached agreement with transport leaders avoiding an indefinite national strike announced for today by the transport workers confederation (CNTLB).

Leaders of the CNTLB, which represents 45,000 drivers said they would guarantee normal service nationwide.

Local media reported that President Evo Morales vowed to abolish Decree 890, which stipulates removing from circulation public transport vehicles over 12 years old.

However Morales insisted on the importance of inspecting vehicles periodically for passenger safety.

He commented on the absence of the Bolivian Driver's Confederation at the talks and urged different social groups mainly those in the transportation sector to help draft a transport law to be sent to Congress for approval.

The government repeatedly highlighted the importance of an open, transparent, direct dialogue regarding the announcement of Decree 890, under which vehicles operating for over 12 years would be taken out of circulation by the year 2018.

Meanwhile in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic , various social organisations will join transport workers later today to protest higher prices for basic goods and services, according to speakers at a meeting in San Pedro de Macoris over the weekend.

The coordinated action will become a general, nationwide strike, organiers said.

Later today a plenary meeting of labour leaders will be held in the capital, said Ramon Perez Figueredo, president of the National United Organisation of Transport Workers.

On Wed June 22, grassroots and transport workers' organisations will organise protest meetings in Moca, Santiago and Bonao, he said.

Organisers will meet on Sat June 25 in Azua and on Sun June 26 in Barahona to prepare for a general strike in the coming days.

Meanwhile over the weekend,a new price hike for fuel went into effect.

A package of budget measures approved in the Senate on Fri June 17 is awaiting a final vote in the Chamber of Deputies.

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