Panama: Teachers Start Warning Strike

Panama City, Jul 28 (Prensa Latina) Teachers from 15 of 16 unions began a 48-hour warning strike on Thursday to demand changes in the education system, a decision that was both supported and criticized. Spokespeople for the strikers said the strike has been observed despite opposition from the Ministry of Education, the Chamber of Commerce, other government offices, and private companies.

Teachers are asking for better working conditions and a real dialogue with education authorities.

Education Minister Lucy Molinar, however, assured that a dialogue did took place and that she did not know the reasons for the strike.

Saul Mendez, coordinator of the National Front for the Defense of Social and Economic Rights (FRENADESO) and general secretary of the National Union of Workers in the Construction Industry and Allied Workers, called on all members to support the teachers.

The Chamber of Commerce and the Panamanian Association of Business Executives (APEDE), on the contrary, urged members to oppose the strike by sending their children to school.

The strike was preceded by a protest march on Wednesday at Porras Park in the capital.

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