Workers of Bogota‘s National University, Colombia’s largest university, went on strike Tuesday, forcing the university to suspend classes for its 30,000 students.
The strike is due to a long-standing row between administrative workers and the university over wages that escalated after the protesting workers were accused of holding 15 security guards hostage and occupying buildings.
The University’s employees have been fighting for increased wages since December 2012, when the employees returned from their Christmas vacation and their salaries had been cut. In March, after a 50-day strike by the same workers, they were able to reach an agreement with the University.
The conditions of the end of the strike however were never met, according to the workers.
“The salary shortfall for 17 years has been 66% compared to the 30% increase in wages we demand,” explained Arango.
The university’s vice-rector has insisted that the institution cannot modify the public sector wage system, as the National University is a public university.
The strike at the university comes amid an accumulation of strikes that begun earlier this year and have particularly grown in strength in Colombia’s countryside where farmers, truckers and miners have put up roadblocks.
- Suspenden clases en la U. Nacional por protestas de trabajadores (El Tiempo)
- Estalló paro indefinido en U. Nacional; trabajadores se “toman” 15 edificios del claustro (Radio Santa Fe)
- Universidad Nacional suspende clases en Bogotá por paro administrativo (El Espectador)
- Edificios bloqueados y vigilantes retenidos en Universidad Nacional de Bogotá (Blu Radio)
- No son vías de hecho, dicen trabajadores de U. Nacional que se tomaron edificios (Blu Radio)