Organizations representing workers say they will stage a national strike in March in opposition to new government rules aimed at reducing unemployment. The Workers Union of Ecuador calls the rules “criminal” and a capitulation to large companies.
The strike has been called for March 17 in major cities, including Quito, Cuenca, Guayaquil, Ambato and Machala.
The union objects to the recently announced relaxation of rules governing short-term labor contracts, giving businesses the option to reduce workers’ hours, and the elimination of the minimum wage requirement for young and apprentice workers.
The Workers Union also claims that the reduction of working hours will make many workers ineligible for the new unemployment insurance program being instituted by the government through the Social Security system.
“The reforms are all being imposed at the expense of workers,” says Eduardo Ortega of the Workers Union. “This government has been supported by the workers because it claimed to represent our interests and now things have changed. They have turned against us.”
Ortega said that his union is considering the candidate to support in the 2017 presidential elections but has not yet made a decision. “After the strike, we will turn our attention to politics,” he said.