Following a meeting with Quito Mayor Jorge Yunda, Ecuador’s United Workers Front (FUT) said it is considering calling off its announced October 30 protest march. FUT President Messiah Tatamuez said that many of his members favor opening discussions with the government that would be mediated by the United Nations and Catholic Church.
“After carefully listening to our representatives, we are thinking of building a bridge between our guild and the government through dialog and calling off the protest that we had previously announced,” Tatamuez said. He added that FUT is aware of the “extreme trauma” that the country suffered following the indigenous strike earlier this month.
Yunda praised FUT leaders for their openness to holding discussions with the government. On Monday, he expressed concern that a mass labor protest could cause more damage to Quito, noting that clean-up and repair operations from the indigenous strike are just getting underway. He also said he had not received an official request from FUT to hold a protest march.
Tatamuez said that FUT membership had identified five areas of major concern that would form the basis of discussions with the government although he did not say what they are. “We have never been closed to dialog and our preference is to voice our grievances peacefully and will consider doing this as long as we believe the government is serious about hearing them.”
FUT opposes several proposals that the National Assembly is currently considering, including a reduction of pay for contract workers, the reduction of vacation days for government employees and changes to employee contract rules.
Tatamuez said FUT would clarify the status of the October 30 protest in the coming days.