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Uruguayan workers set to pay price for coronavirus

PUBLIC-SECTOR workers in Uruguay look set to pay the price in the country’s efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, with President Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou announcing wage cuts to finance a “coronavirus fund.”

Pensions and salaries of public-sector workers earning more than US$1,780 (£1,429) a month are set to be slashed by between 5 and 10 per cent, with no clear figure given in the announcement.

Mr Lacalle acknowledged the difficulties facing the Uruguayan people as the disease starts to spread.

Uruguay has more than 300 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with one recorded death.

He has faced public anger over the government’s inaction in the face of the global pandemic, with its main response being advising people to self-isolate to stop its spread.

Under the new measures, the wages of the president, government ministers, MPs and company directors will also be cut by 20 per cent.

But tax increases introduced earlier this month will not be scrapped, leaving many angered that working people are set to foot the bill for the government’s slow response to the pandemic.

No economic measures were announced that would help mitigate loss of income, although the government said that food parcels would be delivered to the most needy.

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