The FECODE teachers union – the largest trade union in Colombia – has announced a new two-day strike to take place on 28 and 29 August in the latest bout of industrial action centred on conditions, pay and health coverage for workers in the public education system.
Despite having signed agreements with the Colombian government following a series of strikes since 2017, FECODE says that many government obligations remain unfulfilled and teachers continue to face poor conditions and weak labour rights, including health and job security. Among the health-related issues are state failures to make medicine sufficiently available and major delays in confirming surgeries and appointments for workers.
Strike organisers also cite the wave of violence against social activists that has claimed the lives of hundreds of people since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016. At least 13 teacher trade unionists were murdered in 2018 as trade unionist killings more than doubled in Colombia from 15 to 34. Most recently, on Saturday 10 August, school principal Orlando Gómez was abducted and murdered in Cauca, southern Colombia.