Dockworkers At Forefront of Protests in Chile

December 03:The Dockworkers Union of Chile (UPC) has been at the forefront of the protests against president Sebastián Piñera since the unrest began on October 18. The dockers’ union has repeatedly brought the nation’s ports to a standstill and taken part in numerous general strikes and demonstrations. The UPC is also playing a leading political role with its opposition to the “Agreement for Social Peace and a New Constitution,” an accord signed by establishment politicians that seeks to divert the ongoing unrest into a process of limited constitutional reform.

The 6,000 members of the Dockworkers Union have repeatedly paralyzed the majority of the nation’s ports in a series of 24-hour and 48-hour strikes. The first was the 24-hour strike on October 21 that coincided with the largely spontaneous demonstrations of over 1 million people that same day. The UPC then called a 48-hour strike for October 23 and 24, which fed into the October 23 general strike, the first called by the CUT since the rebellion began. The dockers’ union has also had a 24-hour stoppage across October 29-30 that linked up with the general strike of October 30, and a further 24-hour strike on November 12, which coincided with that day’s general strike. The most recent was the 48-hour strike over November 25, 26 and 27, which exceeded the CUT’s call for a November 26 general strike  and coincided with the call by the Social Unity Roundtable group of unions and social organizations for a national strike from November 25 to 27.

[…] A member of the local branch of the UPC in the northern city of Antofagasta told international media, “We’re on strike because of the injustice in the country,” then adding that “we are here because of the repression by state forces against workers.” Indigenous Mapuche dockworker Alberto Mamquepan told the same reporter that “There is so much inequality” that “the system is rotten.” […] When asked if protests could be pinned down to any single issue, Mamquepan said that “It is … everything. It is not one single thing. That is why things exploded.”

Source: Left Voice

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