Unions launch two days of national strikes to demand better working conditions and show solidarity with students.
Another cacerolazo last night marked the beginning of a two day paro which could shut down Chile’s public transport system, ports and airports, energy, health and public services.
Central Workers Union (CUT) President, Arturo Martínez said in a press conference yesterday that it would be a strike that “will express the demands of all sectors of society for the respect of social and civil rights and will reiterate the need for a new economic model, a new constitutional policy and a new labor code in this country.”
The CUT also said the strikes were to support improving public health care, environmental regulation, tax reform and free public education.
Unions are urging people to stay at home and to avoid using transport, sending children to school and other tasks.
However, according to a report by The Clinic, the government has sent out a letter to all senior ministers and heads of public departments urging them to note all absences, to make regular checks of offices and interrogate people who are absent for more then 10 minutes.
President Piñera has publicly criticized the strikes, saying the intention is to “cause harm to Chile.”
In contrast Concertación – the centre left coalition which governed Chile from the end of the dictatorship in 1990 until the last election in 2010 – has publicly supported the unions.
The stikes are set to continue until tomorrow night, when another cacerolazo will signal their end – for now.