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Massive numbers of Uruguayans join strike for better pay

21 July, 2016On 14 July approximately 1 million Uruguayans out of a total population of 3 million took part in a 24-hour strike called to support demands on employment, pay, living conditions, social services and social justice.

“The strike is against cuts to social services and in favour of employment, better pay, more public investment and an end to private sector involvement in social security provision,”

explained John Almada, a member of UNTMRA who was active in preparing the day of action.

Because of the massive participation of workers and social organizations, trade union confederation PIT-CNT described the event as one of the biggest general strikes since Tabaré Vásquez became president of Uruguay in 2015. IndustriALL Global Union affiliates UNTMRA, UOC and FOPCU helped to organize the strike.

The strike forms part of a strategy to encourage the government to negotiate and change its pay policy:

“We called a strike to change things. One issue is the government’s pay policy for the next round of wage negotiations, which is very bad for the workers,”

said Fernando Pereira, President of PIT-CNT, at a press conference on 14 July.

Pereira said that if the government does not agree to change its pay policy, the PIT-CNT will organize major action during the next six-month.

Jorge Almeida, IndustriALL regional secretary, said:

“IndustriALL supports these union initiatives, which seek to protect wages and the social gains made by Uruguayan workers.”