Colombian farmers, government workers join teachers in organized protest

Latin America

Government employees and farmers in Colombia are joining teachers in a general strike. Their complaints are common: poor pay and lack of adequate government support.

CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports from Bogota.

Colombians took to the streets again, but this time it was a National workers strike involving government workers and some farmers’ unions.

Rice farmers traveled 3 hours to Bogota to ask for government help to stabilize food prices. They said the high cost of farming supplies such as fertilizer are bringing down revenues.

Organizers said they expected 1.25 million state workers to strike for 48 hours on both Tuesday and Wednesday. The government workers are asking for an 8.75 percent salary hike and better working conditions.

The government workers are joining hundreds of thousands of teachers engaged in a nationwide strike that began May 12th.  The teachers continue to ask for higher salaries and more investments in education.

These strikes are taking place in at least five Colombian cities, with protesters aiming to disrupt transportation and daily life to bring attention to their cause.

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos held a meeting on Tuesday morning with his Ministers to discuss the strikes and the state of negotiations, which by all accounts are at a stalemate. Santos has said there is simply no money to meet the teachers’ demands.