Claiming that the Covid-19 vaccine campaign is no longer enough to “placate” the Ecuadorian people, a consortium of labor organizations announced that it will take to the streets Wednesday, August 11, in Ecuador’s major cities.
“We can no longer tolerate high unemployment, low wages and lack of control of fuel prices,” José Villavicencio, president of the General Union of Workers of Ecuador, (UGTE) said at a Tuesday press conference. “We demand the reinstatement of fuel subsidies, a freeze on the cost of transportation tickets and public policies that address lack of opportunity for workers. The new government has done nothing to solve the economic, employment and health crisis in Ecuador.”
According to Villavicencio, 40 percent of Ecuadorians live on $2.50 a day and 18 percent live on $1.50. “The situation is intolerable and it is not improving,” he said, adding that workers also demand the repeal of parts of the pandemic-related Humanitarian Law that help employers but not workers.
Among the labor groups that will participate in the protests are the United Workers Front (FUT), the UGTE, the National Union of Educators (UNE), the Ecuadorian Federation of Municipal and Provincial Workers (FETMyP), as well as various university student and campesino organizations.
Also speaking at the press conference, Wilson Álvarez, president of FETMyP, said that President Guillermo Lasso’s campaign promises to revitalize the economy have not been fulfilled. “The president offered many things in the election campaign but at the 100-day mark of his government we see that very little has been accomplished. His promise to provide legal security for workers has not been mentioned since May.”
Isabel Vargas, UNE president, said that teachers look forward to joining other workers in the protests. “As you know, our members are in the streets today in Cuenca and Quito, fighting for the respect of our profession and, so far, our voices have been ignored. By joining with others we believe our message will be heard on August 11.
Villavicencio said protests would begin at 4 p.m. August 11.