Labor unions and social groups in Ecuador are planning a one-day national strike to launch another blow against President Rafael Correa, who is still grappling with mass outrage over a slate of tax proposals. Correa has accused opposition factions of fomenting a “soft coup” against his government.
Unions and social and indigenous groups said this week that a “people’s national strike” would take place next month, either on Aug. 6 or Aug. 13, which are Thursdays. A final date is expected to be announced this weekend during a meeting of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, according to Ecuadorean newspaper El Universal.
The looming strike added another layer of pressure to Correa, who has since last month been facing protests over a raft of legislation that provoked widespread anger. Those planning next month’s strike have an array of different grievances against the government. Workers are demanding repeal of a law passed in April that revised state contributions to pensions.
— Eddie (@Canine_Enigma) July 10, 2015
Meanwhile, medical professionals are up in arms over a June 25 decree that ordered the creation of a new health agency to monitor healthcare in both public and private institutions; they say it allows more government interference while they had requested an independent body. Teachers are also demanding the reinstatement of their unemployment fund.
Protests against the Correa administration began mounting last month over a set of proposals designed to significantly raise inheritance taxes. The president maintained that new taxes would only affect the wealthiest 2 percent of the population, while critics said the laws would discourage businesses and entrepreneurs from trying to succeed. Correa temporarily withdrew the bills to calm tensions ahead of Pope Francis’ visit last week, but the unrest has continued.
Earlier in July the president warned on Twitter that the continuing protests signaled a coup plot by opposition groups against his government. “Sadly we have clear indications that the coup plotters will try to take Carondelet," the presidential palace in Quito, he wrote.
...Lamentablemente tenemos claros indicios de que los golpistas intentarán tomarse Carondelet. Van a unir la marcha de El Arbolito,...
— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) July 1, 2015
During his weekly address Saturday, Correa continued to warn of a coup plot. “What [the protesters are following] is the manual of soft coups. Everyone needs to be aware of this. We should all know what is happening in the country to know what we are up against and to be ready to defend our revolution,” he said.