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Workers and Students Strike, March for Labor Rights in Chile

Chilean workers held a strike and massive march in Santiago to demand the right to collective bargaining and an end to Pinochet-era labor laws.

The CUT Worker Congress held a spirited, peaceful march to reject right-wing attacks on labor rights. Workers and students demanded increased rights and an end to anti-labor restrictions and working conditions rooted in the dictatorship era.

The workers are protesting what they see as a water-down version of the labor reform promised by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. Bachelet's proposal continues to safeguard the ban on collective bargaining, sacking of striking workers, and other anti-union measures. Employers and right-wing parties sharply oppose any progressive changes to Chilean labor laws.

In recent months, Chile has seen a sharp upswing in student and labor militancy in their demands for increased rights and social protections.

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A demonstrator holds up a flag during a strike and peaceful march, called by the Workers
A demonstrator holds up a flag during a strike and peaceful march, called by the Workers' United Center (CUT) to protest against government labor reform, in Santiago, Chile, May 31, 2016. The banner reads: "Go ahead students and workers!" Photo:Reuters
Demonstrators take part in a strike and peaceful march, called by the Workers
Demonstrators take part in a strike and peaceful march, called by the Workers' United Center (CUT) to protest against government labor reform, in Santiago, Chile, May 31, 2016. The banner reads: "No more copper reserved law." Photo:Reuters
Chile
Chile's Workers' United Center (CUT) President Barbara Figueroa delivers a speech during a strike and march against government labor reform in Santiago, Chile, May 31, 2016. Photo:Reuters
Demonstrators attend a strike and march, called by the Workers
Demonstrators attend a strike and march, called by the Workers' United Center (CUT) to protest against government labor reform, in Santiago, Chile, May 31, 2016. Photo:Reuters
Demonstrators take part in a strike and march, called by the Workers
Demonstrators take part in a strike and march, called by the Workers' United Center (CUT) to protest against government labor reform, in Santiago, Chile, May 31, 2016. Photo:Reuters
Demonstrators take part in a strike and march, called by Chile
Demonstrators take part in a strike and march, called by Chile's Workers' United Center (CUT) to protest against government labor reform, in Santiago, Chile, May 31, 2016. Photo:Reuters
Chile
Chile's Workers' United Center (CUT) President Barbara Figueroa raises her fist during a strike and march against government labor reform in Santiago, Chile, May 31, 2016. Photo:EFE
Organizers estimate that well over 20,000 workers and students were in attendance.
Organizers estimate that well over 20,000 workers and students were in attendance. Photo:EFE
Union banners at the strike and march against government labor reform in Santiago, Chile, May 31, 2016.
Union banners at the strike and march against government labor reform in Santiago, Chile, May 31, 2016. Photo:EFE
Students joined the march to demand increased educational rights and rights in the field of health.
Students joined the march to demand increased educational rights and rights in the field of health. Photo:EFE
In recent months, Chile has seen a sharp upswing in student and labor militancy in their demands for increased rights and social protections.
In recent months, Chile has seen a sharp upswing in student and labor militancy in their demands for increased rights and social protections. Photo:EFE
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