Monday, June 17, 2024

Teachers withdraw blockades in Oaxaca, strike action cut back

After four days of gridlocked traffic, most of the street blockades set up by unionized teachers in the greater Oaxaca city area have been lifted.

Almost all vehicle traffic had been halted at several points along the northwest-southeast axis created by federal highway 190 and its urban segment, known as Calzada Héroes de Chapultepec, as well as on the southbound federal highway 175.

The roadblocks impeded transit to and from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and Coast regions of the state and to the neighboring states of Veracruz and Puebla.

Passengers leaving from the city’s main bus terminal were forced to catch their buses elsewhere, due to the teachers’ roadblocks at the terminal.

The teachers have now pulled back to two areas as they continue their indefinite strike: the camp set up two weeks ago on some 10 streets in the city center and the road connecting highway 175 with Oaxaca International Airport, effectively stopping vehicles from entering or leaving the terminal.

Although the airport can be reached via an alternate vehicular entrance, the reigning chaos and confusion has forced some travelers to walk up to three kilometers to get in or out.

The state government has met three times with the teachers in the two weeks since the dissident CNTE union began their strike and protests.

Governor Alejandro Murat Hinojosa said the meetings had resolved some of the union’s demands but the chief one, repeal of the 2013 education reform, is outside the state’s jurisdiction.

The union’s Oaxaca local, Section 22, said after the most recent meeting, held today, members decided to carry on with the strike, but only 20% of the membership will participate.

While the union has described its strike and protests as “massive,” from what education authorities say it appears otherwise.

They say 94% of the state’s 12,000 schools have continued to operate normally.

Although city businesses have seen sales drop between 20 and 35%, enough to cause “serious economic damage,” it has not been as bad as past years.

Pedro Corres Sillas, the head of an association of small businesses, said teacher protests have meant a decline in sales in May and June for the last 35 years. The difference this year, he said, was the strike had little impact and few classes were suspended.

Source: El Universal (sp), Excélsior (sp)

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