Teachers on Strike Across Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 30 May 2012

FECODE, the Colombian teachers’ union has called a 24 hour national strike today in defence of public education and better working conditions. The strike is supported by the three Colombian trade union federations, the CUT, the CTC and the CGT. FECODE rejects the neoliberal policies being implemented by the Santos government, and is proposing the creation of a tripartite commission composed of government, parliamentarians and trade unionists to negotiate a new set of laws to regulate the education sector.

At the beginning of Juan Manuel Santos’ mandate in 2010 FECODE handed the government a document listing the problems that they saw in Colombia’s education system, requesting that the government sit down with them to discuss the issues and come to a solution together. Since then they have received no response to this request. In 2012 a Ministerial decree extended teachers’ working hours in violation of an agreement made in 2009. These events have exacerbated anger at a programme of privatisations in education and other sectors, and at the underfunding of the sector as a whole.

The striking teachers are calling for the defence of public education as a basic right, the end of sub-contracting, an end to tax exemptions for foreign transnational corporations and fairer taxes for Colombians, an end to the privatisations in the justice sector and for improvements to the working conditions of all public employees. FECODE is also calling for improved training for teachers, better wages in line with their professional status, allowing schools more freedom in determining their curricula and the development of a new model of healthcare for all Colombians.

The strike is being supported by the National Network of Secondary Students which states that they support the efforts to build a new model of education as fellow victims of a poverty stricken educational system.

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