BOGOTA – Thousands of public employees from across Colombia gathered in the country’s capital on Tuesday to demand that the government deliver on 2015 accords promising pay raises and better benefits.
The mobilization was led by the Fecode teachers union, whose members walked off the job last Thursday, affecting 8 million students nationwide.
In 2015, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos persuaded striking public employees to go back to work by agreeing to increase their pay by 12 percent, but that hike has yet to materialize.
“Let the government invest the necessary resources in education, in nutrition, in children’s transportation, in infrastructure,” Fecode leader Carlos Rivas told EFE during the protest in Bogota.
Joining Fecode for the march were members of unions representing employees of the prison service, the tax agency, the judiciary, and the medical examiner’s office, among other elements of the public administration.
Santos, without commenting on the substance of the dispute, said that “protests must be respected, they must be protected” as an essential right in a democracy.