On July 13, hundreds of Ecuadorian teachers took to the streets across the country in a new national day of mobilization in defense of equalization of teachers’ salaries at national level. The teachers demanded that the government publish the Organic Law of Intercultural Education (LOEI) with all its reforms in the Official Registry.
The teachers condemned that 45 days had passed since the equalization of salary was agreed on in the Constitutional Court’s NRO ruling, however, the law has not been published yet due to the presentation of appeals by conservative President Guillermo Lasso. They urged the national government to respect the Constitutional Court’s decision and stop inventing legal tricks to evade compliance with the law.
In the capital Quito, a large number of teachers gathered at the Superintendencia de Bancos, the local government’s office, and marched to the Constitutional Court, demanding that the court put an end to what they deem an abusive use of rights by President Lasso. A group of teachers chained themselves outside the court to express their rejection of Lasso’s anti-people policies. In the city of Guayaquil, a massive march was held.
— UNE NACIONAL (@UNENACIONAL) July 13, 2022
The call for the nationwide mobilizations was given by the National Union of Educators (UNE) on Tuesday, July 12. UNE, in a statement, explained that “the failure to comply with the ruling issued by the Constitutional Court on equalization of salary; the continuity in the rise in fuel prices; and the advance in the criminalization of the social struggle by the government” were the reasons that forced the union to call on its members to hit the streets.
UNE criticized that five of their leaders have been summoned by the Prosecutor’s Office, along with leaders of the Indigenous movement, following the recent 18-day-long national strike, stating that this demonstrates “the true attitude of the regime, which is nothing else but deepening social conflict.”
UNE highlighted that the mobilizations were also aimed at expressing their “condemnation of the criminalization of the social struggle and the anti-popular policy” of the Lasso government.
— UNE NACIONAL (@UNENACIONAL) July 12, 2022
The LOEI is an educational reform that modifies about 80% of the existing education system, which has been in force since March 2011. It is the product of 12 years of extensive work of more than 100 educational organizations and unions. It increases the budget for the education sector from 4% to 6% of the country’s GDP, guarantees inclusive and quality public education, employs special education teachers for students with disabilities at all educational levels, increases the basic salary of teachers, establishes special retirement policies, among other measures.
It was approved unanimously in the National Assembly, Ecuador’s unicameral parliament, in March 2021, and by former president Lenin Moreno in April 2021. It would have come into effect in July 2021, however, it remained suspended due to a series of lawsuits and appeals filed against it by the ruling government and its allies. Since last year, the Constitutional Court has repeatedly ratified its validity, rejecting the appeals, most recently on May 26. Nevertheless, the government has been devising new maneuvers to delay implementing the law.
In the past year, the UNE and its members have carried out two several day long hunger strikes: one in May 2022 and another in July 2021, and organized numerous national days of mobilization in defense of the LOEI, and their right to equality, and to a just remuneration. In Ecuador, the teachers teaching in public institutions receive around 50% less salaries than those teaching in private institutions.