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Strike in Chile calling for social change

29 November, 2019In the midst of a social crisis and more than 40 days of protests, Chile held another general strike on 26 November. Protestors are calling for an increased minimum wage, better pensions and job protection, and guaranteed access to health care and education.

The more than 200 trade unions and social organizations that make up the Social Unity movement held a general strike across the country to protest against the policies put in place by Sebastián Piñera's government. They say that the solutions proposed by the government do not meet their demands for social change.

Horacio Fuentes, president of Industrial Chile-Constramet, which is part of the Social Unity movement, said:

"The government has not withdrawn its regressive agenda, and its solutions don't go far enough. Its proposals are in line with the neoliberal model that has caused this crisis in Chile. We think we need to stay out on the streets."

The protests in Chile have been going on for more than six weeks. Protestors are calling for structural changes to the economy and public policies in order to bring an end to the widespread social inequality. Protestors also want the Constitution amended to guarantee social justice.

Although the government has acted on the calls for a new Constitution, it has not involved union leaders in the process.The union movement says that the so-called "Agreement for social peace and a new Constitution" reached on 15 November does not meet the real needs of the Chilean people.

Unions are also saying that they will continue to fight against impunity, given that protestors have been violently repressed by state security forces.

Chile's Ministry of Justice and Human Rights confirmed that the death toll has risen to 24, while the National Human Rights Institute reported that 7,259 people have been arrested and 2,808 injured.

IndustriALL Global Union's regional secretary, Marino Vani, said:

"We once again call on the authorities to respect people’s right to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration.

We urge Chile's government to work with all sectors of society, including the union movement, to change the Constitution to guarantee social justice and provide solutions to the deep-rooted problems affecting Chilean society."