This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
CHILEAN teaching unions have vowed to protect the health of students, teachers and all other workers in the country’s education system in defiance of government plans to reopen schools from next week.
The College Professors of Chile (CPC) union said that measures announced by right-wing President Sebastien Pinera were irresponsible and risked the health of 3.6 million students, 200,000 teachers, 200,000 assistants and the administrative workers in schools, academies and colleges.
Mr Pinera said on Sunday that schools would reopen and some public-sector workers would start a gradual return to work as he outlined plans for the resumption of some social and economic activities.
But CPC president Mario Aguilar rejected calls to resume the school year in May. “We find it outrageous that just when the pandemic is at its peak, [there is] a return to classes. It is a direct attack on the health of the people and the students,” he said.
“All school personnel and learners would interact in facilities and institutions … despite social-isolation recommendations to stop the virus spreading.”
Chile has had 10,088 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 133 deaths and 4,338 recoveries.
Mr Aguila said that the administrative measures proposed by the government “would force one million people to break social isolation and be vulnerable to the pandemic.”
He said that the union would not risk the health of education workers, students and the wider community. “We will unite to defend and protect health,” he said. “If you don’t take care of us, we will take care of each other, students, parents, teachers, education assistants, school communities and citizens.”
Chile has the third-highest total of coronavirus cases in Latin America behind Brazil and Peru, with businesses closed and whole cities, including the capital Santiago’s 6m population on lockdown.
Mr Pinera is keen to get the county’s fragile economy running again. Emergency stimulus measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic will deepen the fiscal deficit to 8 per cent, the largest gap since at least 1990, the government said last week.
The package, worth $17 billion (£13.6bn) is worth more than 5 per cent of Chile’s GDP and includes government credit to protect small businesses.
Since October Chile has been rocked by huge anti-government protests, the largest demonstrations seen since the fall of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship in 1990. Mr Pinera responded by mobilising the military onto the streets to quell dissent, with scores killed and thousands injured in clashes.
The CPC has been engaged in a bitter struggle with the government, taking 50 days of strike action last year over terms and conditions.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.