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Unions say another national strike is set for this Wednesday, September 21st

Published on September 19, 2022

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Several organizations representing workers, teachers and students announced that they would lead a national mobilization on September 21st.

A planned national mobilization of trade unions may be the first measure of support or rejection of the popular consultation proposed by the President of the Republic, Guillermo Lasso.

For this Wednesday, September 21, after 4:00 p.m., The United Workers’ Front (FUT), the Popular Front, the National Union of Educators (UNE) and other related organizations are preparing a national protest for this Wednesday, September 21st, after 4:00 PM. The group is demanding the national government make payments on the “historical” debt with the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute (IESS) and that the National Electoral Council (CNE) convene an electoral process to elect the representative member of the affiliates before the social security board of directors.

In addition, they are adding the rejection of the initiative to amend the Constitution to apply policies on citizen security and institutionality, which is pending until the Constitutional Court (CC) issues a ruling on the constitutionality of the eight questions of the popular consultation proposed by President Lasso.

The president of the Popular Front, Nelson Erazo, said that this social demonstration was announced before the amendment proposal and its objective is “to raise a fight in defense of the IESS.”

“The Government owes you $24 billion, for which we have raised this position: to demand a payment plan for the debt with the IESS, which is the central element. Another element is to recover the delegate of the affiliates to the Institute’s board of directors,” explained Erazo.

He rejected the offer made by the government last Thursday to make a payment of $300 million to the IESS, from the return of the value added tax (VAT), because he says it is “a drowning kick.”

Meanwhile, regarding the eight referendum questions, Erazo does not believe that national problems will be solved at the polls. “Structural measures have not been taken, so the popular consultation is a shot in the air. And we have pointed out that this is an incapable, indolent government. And we are calling for a ‘no’ vote, if given the possibility,” added the leader.

The president of the UNE, Isabel Vargas, has a similar opinion, and said that the call for a strike next Wednesday is to defend the IESS and to raise her voice against the plebiscite proposal.

“In this mobilization we will reject neoliberal policies, and our position regarding the popular consultation is to say: ‘No, because they are tricky questions.’ It is a fruitless query,” she said.

The teacher’s representative said that the presidential proposal “is like a chance to get fresh air and continue applying its neoliberal measures.”

The Minister of Government, Francisco Jiménez, acknowledged that there are opinions contrary to this proposal; but, if it is qualified by the Constitutional Court, it will be the citizens who pronounce themselves.

“The opportunity of each of the questions is absolute. That some people like it and others don’t, for different reasons and objectives, has to do with the subjectivity of each one. But here it will be the people who decide in the end,” he noted in a statement to journalists.

The day of the activists will begin in Quito after 4:00 PM. It will have its headquarters at the Social Security Fund and will advance to the Plaza de Santo Domingo.

As of this past Sunday, September 18th, none of the organizations involved in the June 2022, national strike—who are now in dialogue with the government—have voiced their support for, or intention to join, this new strike.

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