Nationwide Strikes in Colombia

Three hundred thousand (300,000) public school teachers and 150,000 health care workers have been on strike in Colombia since May 15th. On June 7 and 14, tens of thousands of workers from other sectors as well as students organized nationwide strikes and marches in support of the teachers and health workers.

The strikes are being held in protest of privatization and an amendment to the constitution that will cut funding for health care, education and other social services. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is forcing Colombia to pass this law under a 1999 bailout agreement. The IMF also required privatization of sectors of the country's public infrastructure. Authorization to begin the sale of 13 state-run electric companies came from the Colombian government on June 13.