Puerto Rico unions announce protests against furlough
SAN JUAN – Several worker unions announced Monday that they will be carrying out two protests against the austerity measures established by the government and the fiscal control board, particularly the workday reductions ordered by the federally created to begin Sept. 1.
The demonstrations–slated for Friday, Aug. 25 and Thursday, Aug. 30–will take place in San Juan’s Golden Mile banking district in Hato Rey, near the fiscal board’s World Plaza Building offices. In addition to rejection the furlough, the unions reiterated their call for a citizens’ audit of the public debt.
In the case of the demonstration scheduled for Aug. 30, Movimiento Sindical de Puerto Rico spokesman Luis Pedraza Leduc said it will be a “national mobilization” similar to the one on May 1, with a stage at the intersection of Roosevelt and Muñoz Rivera avenues.“This mobilization will have the effect of a national strike from the perspective that the workers are going to be mobilizing toward this event and there will no working,” Pedraza Leduc said in the press conference.
As was the case for the May 1 demonstrations the logistics for each sector will be coordinated separately, but the peak moment is expected to be at noon.
Far from aligning themselves with Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s refusal to implement the furlough program announced by the fiscal board, Predaza Leduc said the differences between the administration and the board are merely “cosmetic.”
“This supposed difference between the government of Ricardo Rosselló and the fiscal control board…only distinguishes itself by how it tightens [the noose] on workers’ necks,” Pedraza Leduc said.
Among the measures denounced by the union leader are labor reform, the government as a single employer law and Acts 3 and 26, which reduce worker benefits and affect collective bargaining agreements.
Regarding the public debt’s audit, Pedraza Leduc was emphatic that he does not believe the government or the fiscal board should be in charge of the investigation.
“We disagree that the board itself may be assessing the situation. An investigation into the debt and the participation of banks and bondholders has been requested at the court level. Banks are opposed. Obviously they are preventing information from being obtained. However, this is not the audit we endorse. We endorse a much broader, citizen process, with more sectors involved that guarantee access to information and have credibility,” the union leader said.
Among the groups that make up Movimiento Sindical are the Puerto Rico Federation of Workers, Puerto Rican Workers’ Central, the Coordinadora Sindical, the Broad Front in Defense of Public Schools, the General Union of Workers, and the Puerto Rican Workers Union.