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Ecuador: Social Groups March in Celebration of Labor Day

Workers and social groups alike marched in Ecuador to commemorate International Worker's Day, which originated in memory of what happened in Haymarket Square, Chicago, back on May 4, 1886. Representatives and committees of different social groups in this country walked through the streets throughout Ecuador. President Leonidas Plaza signed into law on April 23, 1915 which recognized Labor Day celebration as an official holiday every May 1st.

In Ecuador, Labor Day has been a rallying point to help the fight to establish the eight-hour work day and to push for better working conditions. Although labor movement were able to establish the 40-hour workday, some workers still are not paid the overtime and they struggle for better conditions in the place of work, as well as better salaries. This May they took the opportunity to remind the government that workers are still debating about the promised total substitution of the old labor law signed in 1938. [es]

Ecuadorian railway workers by Flickr user FERROCARRILES DEL ECUADOR EMPRESA PÚBLICA FEEP and used under a Creative Commons license.

Twitter user Rosa María Torres (@rosamariatorres) was able to take pictures in all three marches in the capital and said that there were 3 marches on the day. One organized by the major labor organization in Ecuador and in opposition to the government, the FUT (United Labor Front) comprised of different social groups, and the third, organized by the government.

Pablo Arciniegas of the blog Voces del Sur [es] explains why he thinks the labor movement in Ecuador is divided. He attributed it to “labor flexibility” that helped led to its downfall:

Hoy nuevamente fueron masas caminando sin conciencia política, sin motivación rebelde, sin sentido de clase; simplemente fue una demostración más del grado de desmovilización que sufre el movimiento obrero en nuestro país.

(…)

Este primero de mayo entonces nos deja muchos sinsabores, dudas, y preocupación por el nivel de organización de la clase trabajadora; deja la percepción de que las relaciones capitalistas de producción, contrarias a los intereses de de la clase trabajadora, están incólumes, vigentes; y que con los niveles de conciencia y de movilización de las masas de trabajadores, tienen todas las condiciones necesarias para seguir gozando de buena salud.

Today, they were just walking masses without political consciousness, without rebel-like motivation, without sense of class; it was simply one more demonstration of demobilization that the worker's movement suffers in our country.

(…)

This May 1st leaves us many with a bad taste, doubts, and concerns about the level of organization of the working class, leaving the perception that capitalist relations of production, contrary to the interests of the working class, are intact, current; and with those levels of awareness and mobilization of the masses of workers, they have all the necessary conditions to continue to enjoy good health.

All in all, public officials, teachers, grassroots organizations, the indigenous sector, unions, cultural groups and pensioners are still struggling for increased rights on Labor Day.

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