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Union leaders say Vaud strike was a success

Union leaders in canton Vaud say a strike by public sector workers has been a success. Thousands of public employees took to the streets on Thursday to protest measures they say will lead to the dismantling and erosion of local services.

This content was published on February 4, 2000 - 07:48

Union leaders in canton Vaud say a strike by public sector workers has been a success. Thousands of public employees took to the streets on Thursday to protest measures they say will lead to the dismantling and erosion of local services.

Hospitals, schools and other services were badly disrupted by the day of strike action, which is part of a long-running dispute over the introduction of new statutes for the civil service.

In Lausanne alone, around 8,000 public employees took to the streets to protest against the new code, which they fear will lead to the dismantling and erosion of local services.

The action was the latest in a series of stoppages in Vaud since the revision was first proposed two years ago.

A split appeared in the trade union movement during recent negotiations with the cantonal authorities, and one of the three trade unions, the FSF, decided not to join Thursday's round of industrial action.

Union leaders said the strike had been a success, as it had hit sectors and regions until now unaffected by industrial action. The cantonal authorities, though, said work had continued as normal in most services.

The cantonal hospital in Lausanne was particularly badly hit, with all but emergency operations cancelled for the day. Some schools - particularly in Lausanne and Morges - were also closed and there were temporary stoppages of a few hours in many other public services.

Banners berating the authorities and the FSF were placed outside many public buildings. Many non-striking workers in public offices wore badges in support of their colleagues.

Trade unionists say they are ready to step up industrial action unless the cantonal authorities resume negotiations with the two other unions.

Vaud's cantonal government says public service statutes need to be reformed urgently to tackle the canton's chronic budgetary problems.

In the agreement it struck with the FSF, it proposed reducing working hours by one hour a week, from 42 and a half to 41 and a half hours, and giving an extra week's annual holiday.

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