A thousand Venezuelan teachers, public employees, and retirees protested this Tuesday in the center of Caracas demanding pending payments, as well as the respect of their contractual rights in a mobilization they called “the march of the empty pots”.
With pots and spoons, the demonstrators walked part of the center of the Venezuelan capital until they reached the headquarters of the Ministry of Labor, where a commission consigned a document in rejection of an instruction of the National Budget Office (ONAPRE), which contemplates the reduction of several benefits, and in rejection of the incomplete payment of the paid-time off bonuses.
The same document was filed to the Attorney General’s Office, said Belkis Bolívar, board member of the Venezuelan Federation of Teachers, to EFE News.
She also indicated that this is the third march in which the teachers’ union has participated in the last two weeks, since their salary benefits have been “considerably” reduced, including the bonus they receive for vacations, which was paid based on a salary that is no longer in force.
The demand is, he continued, “that the bonuses that were reduced by Onapre in March be reinstated, all bonuses were reduced, which means that they are taking away part of our salary”.
“I completed 30 years of service of which I retired and I feel indignant about what we Venezuelan teachers are going through. It is not possible that today they paid us a miserable bonus, the paycheck was more than the vacation bonus. 30 years of service lost because we are graduates, with postgraduate degrees, master’s degrees and the Ministry does not care,” said teacher Nellys Parra.
Another of the demonstrators, Teresa Matos, agrees with her and said that her pension as a retired teacher prevents her from even meeting basic expenses such as medicine.
“How is it possible that I, with the two pensions I have, I can’t afford anything. I suffer from my spine and I can’t afford to buy medicine. I go to the doctor to go, because when they give me the récipe (medical prescription) I go to the pharmacy and considering the price I can’t buy,” she said.
Editor’s Note: Quotes have been translated from Spanish to English.