Ecuadoran unions take to streets to demand pension system payment

Union workers in Ecuador protested in the major cities of Quito and Guayaquil on Wednesday to demand the government pay what it owes into the state social security system, threatening to escalate protests if there was no agreement. Union leaders argue that the Ecuadoran Social Security Institute’s (IESS) financial situation has muddled of health services for users and has put the retirement pension system at risk.

President Guillermo Lasso has said the government owes IESS about $8.4 billion dating back to 2011, according to official data from July, although some workers argue that represents a significant undercount. “Social security is not bankrupt, it is poorly managed,” Mesias Tatamuez, one of the union leaders, told reporters.

“This is a peaceful march,” he added. “When we strike it will be with roadblocks.” The workers’ march is the first since protests in June led by indigenous groups against the government’s environmental and economic policies, which played out over more than two weeks and affected the country’s oil industry.

Neither the government nor IESS officials responded to a request for comment. Ecuador’s government reached an agreement last week to disburse $300 million through December to apply to what is owed.

“We are not going to allow the government, under the argument that there are no resources, to try to hand over the administration of the IESS to private companies,” said Nelson Erazo, president of the Popular Front, an alliance of social and union organizations.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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