Caracas, Aug 4 (EFE).- Thousands of active and retired education sector workers in Venezuela returned to the streets Thursday to demand the restitution of salary benefits and respect for their collective bargaining in what was the fourth demonstration summoned by the guild in the last two weeks.
Demonstrators took to the center of Caracas in a protest that traveled at least three blocks with the aim of reaching parliament, but which was forced to end at the entrance of the Ministry of Higher Education, where armed forces personnel prevented the protesters going any further.
“We are on the streets as a result of government policy aimed at destroying the knowledge society that is the entire educational system. What the government is doing is unusual – it is lowering wages, it has suspended everything to do with pensions,” Víctor Márquez, the president of the Association of Professors of the Central University of Venezuela, told EFE.
In addition, he continued, the executive eliminated “the contributions and withholdings of savings banks and has destroyed the security and social security institutes of the university sector.”
The professor insisted that it is a violation of the rights of active and retired workers and assured that they will remain on the streets until the measure is reversed.
“Is it true that the blockade has affected us? Yes, the blockade has affected us, but the looting they have done to this country has also affected us because they looted this country, because corruption has done us a lot of damage,” said Eduardo Sánchez, president of the Federation of University Workers, who demanded the resignation of the ministers of education, university education and planning.
Meanwhile, NGOs and union leaders reported on social media networks that the protest was replicated in other regions such as Lara, Zulia, Yaracuy, Sucre, Monagas and Portuguesa, where public employees demonstrated against an instruction from the National Budget Office, which contemplates the reduction of several benefits.
The issue of these protests came to parliament Thursday, when several opposition deputies asked to “accompany” or “lead” negotiating tables in favor of the protesters, a proposal that was quickly discarded by the Chavista majority that defended the executive and said that behind these claims there are attempts to destabilize the government. EFE