The United Workers’ Front is worried that issues important to the country’s workers are not being discussed in negotiations between indigenous groups and the government. “We support the indigenous positions in the discussions but are concerned that other issues regarding labor are not being addressed,” says José Villavicencio, FUT vice president.
He added that his members are not bound by the agreement between Conaie and the government that ended the 18-day anti-government strike. “We have not renounced our right to resistance and social protest and if the issues important to us are not addressed in the negotiations, will may take to the streets.”
He added: “We will not wait for 90 days for resolution of the injustices suffered by workers.” The indigenous – government negotiations are scheduled to continue for 90 days.
Villavicencio listed “rehabilitation” of the Social Security system, labor reform and support for workers terminated from government employment at the top of FUT’s agenda. “We have forwarded our demands to the government but have not received a response. If we do not have answers in the coming days we will decide our next action.”FUT is also demanding a meeting with new Finance Minister Pablo Arosemena.
Although employment and labor rights are topics of the government – Conaie negotiations, Villavicencio says he is concerned that “all relevant matters” will not be discussed. “Our positions and those of the indigenous movement are the same as far as they go but ours are more focused on the rights of workers. We are asking for a place at the table to address these matters.”