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Spain's safety net frays as care workers go unpaid
06 March 2012 @ 20:07

Mercedes Garcia, the director of a residency for severely mentally disabled adults, has a crisis in her kitchen.

Two caterers have been supplying and preparing food for the centre's 46 patients for free for almost a year; the other 18 recently decided they'd had it and refused to provide further service without payment up front.

The residency has been running on fumes for months because the local government, squeezed by austerity measures to combat the euro zone debt crisis, has not paid its share of expenses.

"All of the residents here will need 24-hour care from cradle to grave, but our carers can't continue their own lives if we don't pay them," an exhausted-looking Garcia told Reuters in February. Her caregivers earn 800 euros a month, just above minimum wage and not enough to tide them over when their paycheques are delayed.


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