Article from Mexican Labor News & Analysis
Published by UE International.

Date published: July, 2016

Web version:


By Dan La Botz

The Mexican government and the National Coordinating Committee of the Mexican Teachers Union (la CNTE), a dissident caucus within the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE), have broken off talks. President Enrique Peña Nieto and Secretary of Public Education Aurelio Nuño said they would not continue negotiations with la CNTE unless the teachers returned to their schoolrooms for the beginning of the new school year.

“There will be no more dialogue if we cannot first guarantee that girls and boys can go to school and receive education in the classrooms, which today are closed. First education and then dialogue,” said President Peña Nieto.

Enrique Enríquez, the general secretary of Local 9 in Mexico City, which is led by la CNTE, said, “Today we don’t believe that when they say first classes and then dialogue. The teachers indefinite work stoppage will continue.”

Peña Nieto received support for his position from Jesús Zambrano Grijalva, president of the executive committee of the House of Representatives, from Silvano Aureoles, governor of Michoacán, and Miguel Ángel Mancera, the Mayor of Mexico City.

The Extent of the Strikes and New Tactics

While the heart of la CNTE strength remains in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, strikes were also reported in five other states: Michoacán, Guerrero, Nuevo León, and Sinaloa. Strikes were also reported in some schools in Mexico City.

The Secretary of Education (SEP) and la CNTE each provided different estimates of the extent and effectiveness of the teachers’ strike. While la CNTE claimed that 90 percent of schools were on strike in Oaxaca and Chiapas, the SEP reported that less than 50 percent of the schools had been affected. A much smaller number of schools were closed in the other states.

Striking teachers, parents, student and community supporters held large marches in Oaxaca City, the capital of the state of Oaxaca, and in Tuxtla-Gutiérrez, the capital of Chiapas. There was also a march to the Zócalo, Mexico’s national plaza in Mexico City.

La CNTE warned that they would intensify their struggle against the Education Reform Law by seizing government facilities that are considered key to national security, such as Mexican Petroleum Company (PEMEX) plants and refineries, hydroelectric plants, and facilities of the Federal Electrical Commission.

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