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  • Unions, peasant organizations and LGBT groups march to reject the privatizations and mass layoffs of public employees in Ecuador

    Unions, peasant organizations and LGBT groups march to reject the privatizations and mass layoffs of public employees in Ecuador | Photo: EFE

Published 17 March 2019
Opinion

Most of the firings, approximately 10,000, happened between Feb. 27 to March 1, a few days after a staff-level agreement with the IMF was reached.

From December 2018 to February 2019, 11,820 people have been fired from the public sector in Ecuador,  the country’s Labor Minister Andres Madero announced Wednesday on a meeting of the Workers Commission of the National Assembly.

RELATED:
Post-IMF Deal, Ecuador Fires 10,000 Public Officials in 3 Days

The government official detailed that 8,916 people were laid off from the Executive branch, 207 from the Judicial and 566 from Legislative. While 1,365 workers corresponded to institutions created by Constitutional mandate and under specific laws. The rest belongs to the Office of Transparency and Social Control, Government Council for the Special Regime of Galapagos and Andean Parliament. 

Most of the firings, approximately 10,000, happened between Feb. 27 to March 1, a few days after it was announced that a Staff-level agreement with the IMF was reached, according to local media reports. After almost two weeks and social pressure, the government finally issued official figures assuring that at the end of March the total list of people affected by layoffs from the public sector will be issued. 

This means the number will likely be higher. Such is the case of the allegedly 2,500 to 3,500 workers fired just from the health sector with provisional contracts, as denounced on March 6 by leaders of the National Union Organization of Workers of the Ministry of Public Health (Osuntramsa), which added that “ workers rights were vulnerated.”

Workers gathered outside buildings from the Public Health Ministry to protest on March 8.

Ecuadorean Labor Minister has insisted that the decision answers to the  “necessity of the institutions and follow the country’s Law for Public Service (Losep)”. As the 11,820 workers are just part of a larger plan to “reduce” the country’s public expenditure. 

On Sept. 1, 2017, President Lenin Moreno signed executive order 135, which stated the overall strategy to take in order to "optimize and reduce public spending." Based on that the Coordinating Company of Public Companies (EMCO) announced in February 2019 that public companies were to cut 10% of their payroll. According to EMCO, the companies under its coordination report 39 100 workers, which would mean almost firing 4,000 employees. 

A course of action that follows the requirements made by the new IMF loan agreement. One of its main commitments regards the national wage bill will most likely be done, as many economists and experts have pointed out, through mass layoffs in the public sector, reduction in the nominal salary and minimum wage. As well as reforms for the flexibilization of the workforce, which will also affect private sector workers.

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