Several labor organizations have launched strikes in the Paraguayan capital in order to demand a reduction in bus transportation fares and an improvement in general services.
The protesters complain that the US$0.50 fare price is too high considering the inadequate level of service offered by the transport service providers known as Cetrapam.
“The government should invervene in the transportation sector because the routes belong to the state not the private companies,” said Eduardo Ojeda, member of the Socialist Movement Class.
The latest civil society protests follow recent demands issued by Centrapam, which requested that the government increase fuel subsidies, by US$0.04 per ticket. In order to avoid a potential strike,
Paraguyan government officials met with members from Centrapam yesterday, in which both sides agreed to a slight increase in government subsidized ticket prices.
Cetrapam has been demanding additional government subsidies since last year, however previous measures to satisfy worker demands resulted in an increase in the cost of bus fares which lead to public protests forcing the government to reverse the initial decision.
The president of Cetrapam, Cesar Ruiz Diaz, declared that the organization would lift the strike for two weeks in order to provide the government with time to carryout their proposal.
The poorer segments of the Paraguayan population are particularly affected by price inflation due to decreasing levels of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).
According to the International Labor Organization, between December 2012 and October 2013, the purchasing power of minimum-wage workers in Paraguay decreased 2.8 percent. The mininum wage in the country is US$340.