Chile: Thousands of port workers join national strike

October 23 , 2019

The Port Workers' Union of Chile announced that around 6,000 port workers are joining the nationwide general strike on Wednesday.

Ports in Chile will halt labor nationwide, except for Mejillones, Coquimbo and some docks in Valparaíso. 

A general strike has also been announced for Thursday across the country.

“We decided to mobilize ourselves and halt workers for tomorrow starting with the first shift on Wednesday, Oct. 23 because we remain with the people," commented a representative from the Port Union of Chile. 

"We are the working class and the deepest transformations must come from unions. We are going forward without fear!"

According to Portal Portuario, the ports which will stop their operations on Wednesday include Iquique, Tocopilla, Antofagasta, Chañaral, Caldera, Huasco, Ventanas, San Antonio, Penco, Lirquén, Huachipato, Talcahuano, San Vicente, Coronel, Corral, Puerto Montt, Calbuco, Chacabuco and Punta Arenas. 

On Monday all port workers went on strike in solidarity with Chilean protesters around the country.

The unrest was sparked by a now-suspended rise in the metro fare but has since escalated to reflect Chilean's deep anger at severe inequality in one of South America's most stable and prosperous countries.

Three unions in San Antonio urged the government on Tuesday to end the State of Emergency and the military-imposed curfew. 

On Tuesday night, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera attempted to calm the unrest by announcing a series of social reforms related to areas including pensions, minimum wage, electricity bills and higher taxes for the rich.

However, many have criticized the measures, saying they do not go far enough. 

According to current official figures, at least 17 people have died in Chile over recent days due to the unrest.

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