Honduras: teachers sit in for back pay

On Jan. 13 Honduran teachers began a series of protests against the government’s delays in paying salaries for some 2,600 teachers and its failure to pay full year-end bonuses. For the first phase of the mobilization, the unions representing the nation’s 48,000 teachers called for “informational assemblies” throughout the country. The assembly held in the Hibueras de Comayaguela Institute in Tegucigalpa quickly turned into a demonstration. At 11 AM the participants marched to the Education Secretariat. Entering the building, they chanted: “Out with [Education Minister Marlon] Breve!” and “We want to be paid, we’re hungry!” Ministry employees left their offices, and the teachers shut the doors to the building. Breve accused the teachers of sedition and sent for the police. About 30 agents of the National Police with shields and nightsticks blocked the doors to keep more teachers from entering. After an all-night standoff, the agents removed the protesters at about 4 AM on Jan. 14.

The teachers went on strike in August in 2006 and 2007 over pay issues, but this was the first protest they held during a vacation; classes are scheduled to resume on Feb. 2. Union leaders said they would continue with mobilizations during the vacation period, including takeovers of buildings, bridges and highways. (La Tribuna, Honduras, Jan. 14; El Heraldo, Honduras, Jan. 15)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 18

See our last post on Honduras and the struggle in Central America.