Some 60,000 teachers were set to return to their classrooms on July 10 in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, after a seven-week strike that included numerous sit-ins at government buildings and an encampment in the central plaza in the city of Oaxaca. The teachers, members of Section 22 of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE), walked off the job on May 22 to demand cost-of-living adjustments and a larger education budget. On June 14 the strikers–who were also calling for the resignation of PRI governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and were supported by indigenous and other social movements in the state–beat back a violent attempt by state police to remove them from the plaza.
“We have a commitment to the people, who have supported us, and we’ll return to the classroom to finish” the school year, Section 22 general secretary Enrique Rueda Pacheco said on July 7. The teachers will return to the encampment in the plaza on July 22 to carry out more actions and promote a boycott of the Guelaguetza festival, a major tourist attraction. (Apparently the state school system’s 10,000 administrative personnel will stay on strike while the teachers return to work.) (La Jornada, July 8) The teachers’ assembly voted early on July 1 to drop an earlier plan to boycott and block the local voting in the July 2 national elections, in order to let the population use the “punishment vote” against the PRI and the PAN. (LJ, July 2)
On June 27 the independent unions grouped in the National Front for Labor Unity and Autonomy (FNUAS) called off a similar threat to start an open-ended national strike on June 28 that might have disrupted the voting nationally. Spokespeople said there weren’t “the conditions” for a general strike. (LJ, June 28)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 9