15,000 employees dismissed due to earthquake in Chile

Around 15,000 Chilean employees were dismissed due to the Feb. 27 earthquake in the country, with 9,000 of them without compensation, a leader of the workers' union said on Friday.

The most affected are the employees of small and medium-sized enterprises, Arturo Martinez, president of the Chilean Central Union of Workers (CUT), said, noting that the worst is in the region of Bio Bio, one of the areas affected by the quake.

The government "has not foreseen the situation, or perhaps, it does not consider it important, but the workers are the ones paying the costs," Martinez told a local radio station.

Martinez said that there will be a big demonstration by workers in the region, adding that his union will go to the National Congress to demand law reforms so as to protect the employees from being dismissed in case of a catastrophe without compensation.

"We have to seek a solution, not to wait for the problems to arrive," he said.

[Source: Xinhua, Santiago de Chile, 20Mar10]

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