Ecuador’s trade union center, the Unitary Front of Workers (FUT), on June 29, gave the call for a national mobilization to be held on July 16. The mobilization will be carried out against the neoliberal economic policies of President Lenin Moreno and his government’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a video conference, Mesías Tatamuez, president of the FUT, explained that the mobilization will be held in rejection of the mass dismissals of public sectors workers, the budget cuts in the higher education sector, the corruption in the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute (IESS) and the privatization of public institutes.
“We invite all Ecuadorians to the grand mobilization day on Thursday, July 16, 2020, for employment, education, health, against corruption and in defense of the IESS/BIESS. Complying with health protocols,” wrote the FUT in a tweet after the conference.
José Villavicencio, president of the General Union of Ecuadorian Workers (UGTE), who also took part in the conference, announced that in the next few days seven unconstitutionality lawsuits will be filed against the Humanitarian Support Law.
Unions allege that the Humanitarian Support Law, recently passed by Moreno to deal with the economic and social crisis, is an anti-worker law. The trade unions, such the FUT, the Unitary Center of the Workers (CUT), Federation of Public and Private Workers (FTPP), among others, denounced that it promotes exploitation of workers, legalizes layoffs and favors big companies.
Union leaders criticized the health ministry for its inability to deal with the pandemic. They denounced that the health portfolios have been dismantled in the country and that millions of people are without protection. Therefore, they urged the citizens to join the protests wearing face masks and respecting social distancing measures.
Several social movements, Indigenous organizations and trade unions have been organizing against Moreno’s austerity measures since the beginning of May. On May 25, a massive national mobilization was carried out against Moreno’s new set of neoliberal reforms. During the first two weeks of June as well, several protests were held.
Ecuadors’ teachers will hold a sit-in at the Independence Plaza, in Quito, on July 2, under the banner of “minga for life, health, work and education,” according to Isabel Vargas, president of the National Union of Educators (UNE).
As of June 29, Ecuador has 55,665 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 4,502 deaths.