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The Chilean people have spoken, now the government must listen

22 Oct 2019

The ITF has called for the immediate end to the state of emergency in Chile, the opening of a genuine dialogue with the unions and civil society groups, and sent international solidarity to the Chilean people in their struggle against the repressive actions of the government.

ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton said: “Firstly, we need the military off the streets of Chile and the government must respect the legitimate right of the people to protest. If this doesn’t happen, then we support the ITUC’s call to cancel the two forthcoming major international summits in Chile: the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and the COP climate summit. Hosting these events is a privilege that should not be extended to governments that don’t respect basic democratic norms.

“Next, the Chilean government needs to sit down with the unions and civil society organisations, listen to what they have to say and put in place policies that will improve the lives of people in Chile. I’m talking about increasing the minimum wage, investing in public services, withdrawing the tax reform project. Because these protests should come as no surprise to the government of president Sebastián Piñera. They are the consequence of policies that have slashed public services, increased inequality and victimised the most vulnerable members of society.

“Finally, I send greetings and solidarity to the people of Chile from the 18 million transport workers represented by the ITF. Your action in demanding democratic rights from your government is an inspiration, especially the role played by your unions and young people. We stand ready to support you in any way that we can.”

Edgar Díaz, ITF Americas acting regional secretary, added: “The ITF and its affiliates condemn the use of force against the general population by the government, which has demonstrated its complete intransigence in persisting with the harsh neoliberal policies that have badly affected the economic wellbeing of Chileans and have led to constant infringements of their rights.

“We declare our support for all unions and civil organisations that are exercising their legitimate right to protest against transport price increases, which constitute a violation people’s right to mobility.

“The ITF and its affiliates will continue to fight to ensure respect for human rights, workers’ rights and for policies that support mobility rights for all.”

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