Wearing compulsory uniforms and obtaining travel permits, more than 20 representatives from key Chilean organizations sought to persuade Special Forces police to allow them to deliver a letter to President Sebastian Pinera.
Barbara Figueroa, President of the CUT (United Confederation of Workers) led the delegation to Moneda Presidential Palace, where she was told that they were the only ones allowed into the building.
“We all go or none of us go,” Figueroa said. “We all represent our organizations, including teachers, city workers, Walmart supermarket, teachers and medical professionals. We want the president to accept our request.”
While they were talking, police suddenly started arresting 12 leaders and putting them in bakkies to take them to the nearest police station, accusing them of disturbing the peace during the epidemic.
This was a bad start to the strike called by CUT, which represents about 9% of recipients. He was joined by 35,000 employees, including state-owned television operators and CODELCO, Chile’s largest mining company. Chile is the largest producer and exporter of copper in the world.
The letter, which was eventually issued by Figueroa along with those who were not detained, outlines three requirements.
“We urge the government not to neglect: first, to pay an emergency payment of 500,000 pesos ($ 700) to the unemployed; low wages are on the rise in poverty, as well as food shortages, ”Figueroa said.
As he spoke, President Pinera met with leaders of all Congress houses to discuss emergency aid to the people of Chile.
People are suffering
Food kitchens have spread rapidly throughout the country since the plague began. Unemployment has risen by about 11%. But in the meantime, government financial aid has proven to be inadequate and difficult to reach due to overuse.
“I receive less than 1,000 pesos ($ 142) from my pension. I can’t afford to pay the rent for electricity, gas or water so I don’t pay my bills, or eat properly. And I haven’t received any government funding since the epidemic started, ”said Rosa Diaz, 78, who is supporting the strike.
With so many people in the country still incarcerated in compulsory prisons, the boycott has become more symbolic. However, there were small trips and demonstrations around the country all day. And it seems to have forced the president to reconsider urgent requests for assistance.
“We appreciate the government’s decision to meet with Congress leaders. We have been saying that government support should be for everyone, not just a select few. The financial package should be strong enough to provide financial, health and security for people living in prisons, and we can to combat the epidemic, “said Raul Soto, leader of the central PPD Party bench.
To help secure other aid, opponents want a tax on the so-called “super-rich”. It can raise taxes once by 2.5% for the 1,500 Chilean richest people. But as expected, there has been a decline from strong business in the country.
A well-known Chilean business leader believes there could be evils to come.
“Yes, we have financial problems now, we have families without food. But then, when it comes time to rebuild the economy, where there are more people looking for work, it will give opportunities to other abusive writers, “he warned Figueroa.
“They want to pay the worst for salaries and services. That is why we must take action now. ”