Nicaraguan trade unions denounce national strike called by opposition

NSCAG News | on: Friday, 24 May 2019

Just one of many Nicaraguans who ignored the opposition's strike call

Just one of many Nicaraguans who ignored the opposition's strike call

The national strike called on 23 May by the opposition Civic Alliance and supported by big business has been roundly condemned by Nicaraguan trade unions. The National Workers’ Front FNT and its 9 affiliated trade unions representing workers across the country in sectors including health, education, higher education, construction, transport, the public sector and self-employed workers (mainly those who work in the street) have issued a statement confirming that they did not call for this strike and that they will not support any strike which is ‘against the stability and economic activity of our country and our companies and workplaces’.

The unions have condemned the strike as irresponsible and against the country’s interests and have pointed out that such acts serve only to affect the most impoverished and vulnerable families by depriving them of an income. They have also issued a call to all union members to defendpeace and the right to work in the face of new threats of economic and social destabilisation promoted by right wing opposition groups.

‘Respect for the institutions, the Constitution and the Laws of our country is the fundamental framework that every Nicaraguan and honest citizen must assume in order to guarantee the peace and stability of the nation…. the FNT calls on all Nicaraguan workers to redouble their efforts to develop their daily work and guarantee peace, work and unity for Nicaraguan families’ - FNT Statement

It is clear that, at a time when the Government has been complying with agreements reached in the national dialogue, the strike call by the Civic Alliance was intended to generate a new social crisis, to cause disruption and to seek to present an image of the Government as ‘repressive’. In light of divisions which have emerged among different opposition groups in Nicaragua – with some supporting dialogue and others not – it is also likely that the strike was called in an effort to promote unity among opposition groups, or at least to give the impression that this is the case. The strike was supported by opposition group UNAB, Unidad Nacional Azul y Blanco, who had earlier called on the Civic Alliance to break off negotiations with the Government, to take to the streets and to demand that the US strengthen sanctions against their own country.

The strike call in fact had a mixed effect, even though the opposition is claiming success. Private schools closed for ‘safety’ reasons and some big firms were closed, however the banks and most other businesses were open, and the vast majority of workers went about their jobs in the usual way and did not observe the strike call.

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