MEXICO CITY – Educators from the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, after two days of protests in and around Mexico City, won commitments from the federal government to pay salaries and bonuses owed to a group of public-school teachers who are not on the official payroll.
After several hours of negotiations, members of the militant CNTE teachers union secured the payment of salaries and Christmas bonuses to some 3,000 teachers hired on a fee basis, protest leader Ruben Nuñez said Tuesday upon leaving a round of talks at the Government Secretariat headquarters in Mexico City.
The federal government also pledged to take steps to put all teachers in Oaxaca on the formal payroll and review the state’s education law, Nuñez said, adding that those commitments were signed.
Hundreds of demonstrators arrived by bus Monday in Mexico City from Oaxaca and set up a protest camp on the capital’s emblematic Paseo de la Reforma thoroughfare.
They threatened to remain there indefinitely, but lifted the sit-in after capital authorities threatened to remove them by force.
Hundreds of protesters marched Tuesday on that same avenue, snarling traffic and cutting off access to stores, offices and federal government buildings, including the Senate.
A separate group seized a toll booth on the Oaxaca-Mexico City highway for five hours, letting the motorists go through without charge but requesting a donation for the protesting teachers.
The CNTE activists, most of them from poor, rural areas with primitive infrastructure, want authorities to provide permanent positions to 3,000 workers who currently offer their services on a fee basis.
The labor union opposes the education overhaul that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto promulgated in 2013 and which includes a comprehensive regime of evaluation.
Members of the CNTE, particularly those in Oaxaca, say the scheme devised by the government violates their labor rights.