Teachers in Chiapas, Mexico Vote to End Strike
Teachers affiliated with the CNTE union march during a demonstration against Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto’s education reform, Aug. 16, 2016. | Photo: teleSUR
The vast majority of teachers in Mexico have now agreed to return to classes, ending a strike that lasted over 100 days.
After a marathon session inside the “Ernesto Che Guevara” auditorium, teachers affiliated with the militant National Coordinator of Education Workers in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas voted Thursday to accept a government proposal and end their strike and return to classes.
The decision to end the 124-day strike came after votes by teachers from 24 different regions of the state were tabulated. According to Proceso magazine, the final result was 45 percent in favour of ending the strike, with 33 percent opposed; the remainder of the ballots were considered spoiled.
The vote means teachers in Chiapas will return to classes, meanwhile the government will have to abide by a laundry list of commitments, including unfreezing the union’s bank accounts, investing in school infrastructure, and suspending any outstanding warrants for union members.
The deal also means the application of the controversial education reform will be frozen. The strike was launched in May to ramp up the union’s rejection of the government’s education reform, introduced by Peña Nieto in 2013, on the basis that the policies threaten public education with creeping privatization and fail to respond to education needs of rural and Indigenous students.
With teachers from the state of Oaxaca having returned to classes earlier this month, Thursday’s vote means the largest locals of the National Coordinator of Education Workers, known as the CNTE, have now ended their strike.
Trade union leaders from Oaxaca and Chiapas both warned, however, that should the government renege on its commitments, union members would be prepared to engage in a new round of political protest.
Elsewhere in Mexico, teachers affiliated with the CNTE clashed with police in the City of Oaxaca ahead of the events commemorating Mexican independence.
Police prevented demonstrators from reaching the main square, nonetheless Governor Gabino Cue was met with jeers and chants calling him a “murderer” as he addressed the assembled crowd.
Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity