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Unions take part in national strike against Peru’s government

21 February, 2023IndustriALL Global Union’s affiliates in Peru have taken part in a fresh national strike against Dina Boluarte’s government. They called for her and members of Congress to resign, and for elections to be called. 

IndustriALL affiliates FETRIMAP, FNTMMSP and FNTTP joined the general strike called by the General Confederation of Peruvian Workers (CGTP) on 9 February. As part of the strike, protests were held to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte and members of Congress, and to condemn police violence against demonstrators. So far, at least 60 people have lost their lives in the protests.

In addition, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA) called for a week of action from 13 to 16 February in support of the people’s demands. 

These organizations say that there has been a breakdown of democracy and massive human rights violations in Peru. They appealed to international human rights bodies to help establish negotiations with social movements and political forces in order to "achieve a peaceful transition towards a democratic society that expresses the interests of the entire population of Peru".

CGTP national labour defence secretary and FETRIMAP secretary general, Gilmer Ibañez Menendrez, said:

"We, the workers, want Dina Boluarte to stand down for the good of the country, because demonstrators are still being killed and criminalized. Boluarte calls for dialogue but then declares a state of emergency; she says she is complying with the rule of law, but the right to life is a fundamental right and one she has not respected. This is a democratic issue: we should have a government of the people for the people."

Protests against Boluarte have been going on for two months. On 7 December, then-President Pedro Castillo gave a speech announcing that he would establish an emergency government and temporarily dissolve Congress. However, Congress immediately voted to remove him from office, and subsequently imprisoned him. He was replaced by Vice President Boluarte, who says she will not resign until early elections have been held, but Congress has considered and rejected four initiatives to bring the elections forward.

Trade unions are calling for fresh elections to be held as soon as possible, as the next election is not scheduled until 2026. Demonstrators also want Congress to be dissolved and a constitutional assembly established to draft a new constitution. They have demanded an end to the violence and a way out of the political crisis (there have been six presidents since 2016), as well as calling for true democracy to be restored and inequalities to be addressed. 

Lastly, IndustriALL’s regional secretary, Marino Vani, said:

"We stand in solidarity with our affiliates and the people of Peru. We condemn the State’s violence and the killing of its people. We call on Congress, the government and the judiciary to adopt the measures proposed by workers and the social movement. Only a democratic solution can help to pave the way to unity in Peru.”