MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay is having a day of protests Tuesday during which thousands of workers in education, the state oil company, the power utility and the banking sector are staging a number of demonstrations as a lead-up to the general strike planned for Aug. 6.
The demonstration drawing the most workers into the streets is being mobilized by teachers, who went on strike Tuesday in Montevideo province, where almost half of Uruguay’s approximately 3.5 million inhabitants live.
As the secretary general of the Educational Unit of the PIT-CNT labor federation, Jose Olivera, told EFE, this sector is going on strike in the capital because negotiations with the government seeking better pay for teachers are going nowhere.
He said the government has expressed its intention to deal with the matter in Cabinet meetings set for Aug. 13 and Aug. 20, but added that there will be a very small window for negotiations at that time because of the administration’s obligation to present a budget to Congress by the end of next month.
The average teacher’s salary in Uruguay is around 21,000 pesos ($750) a month, and the last offer, considered insufficient by the union, was a 19-percent increase, to be phased in over the next five years.
Also readying their protests in Montevideo are workers of the state utility UTE, state oil company Ancap, and the Banking Association of Uruguay.