More than 70,000 service workers struck for 24 hours Friday to protest government austerity measures that have increased the cost of living.

Employees stayed off the job at six of the main hospitals, schools, city governments, the health ministry, National Bank and some other institutions."So far, the strike is a big success," said Jose Joaquin Melendez, coordinator of the Permanent Workers' Council. The council, with about 110,000 government and private sector workers, called the strike.