Protesters in Ecuador rally against government labor reforms
Thousands of people have taken to the streets in several cities in Ecuador to protest against labor reforms proposed by the government of President Rafael Correa and endorsed by the parliament.
The demonstrators, among them workers and students, marched toward the Carondelet Palace, which is the government’s headquarters, in Quito on Thursday.
They rejected the new reform measures, which they say would increase unemployment in the country.
“We do not want unemployment insurance, what we want is a secure job,” said a protester.
Similar demonstrations were also held in cities like Guayaquil and Cuenca.
Ecuador’s Congress passed the government-proposed reform bill with 88 votes in favor and 33 against. The package of structural reforms, which was proposed by the president, calls on the Ministry of Labor to ask companies to adjust to an austerity plan.
The measure calls for reduced working hours (30 hours per week) instead of layoffs, and extra maternity or paternity leave and changes in the Internship Law.
President Correa denounced the protests, saying, “Nobody must believe that the demonstration is due to the labor reform. I assure you that they have not even read the text of the law.”
“They are trying to obtain by force what they didn’t obtain at the polls. That old country will not return. We will defeat them again,” he added.
Correa is a leftist economist who has been president since 2007. In February 2013, he won an unprecedented third term in an election.