The Federation of Teaching Organisations of Honduras (FOMH) has mobilised in defence of the work of school teachers, their Social Security, and public education in Honduras.
The teaching organisations comprising FOMH and affiliated to EI - COLPROSUMAH, COPEMH, COPRUMH and PRICPHMA - have joined forces to demand the repeal of the Law of the National Welfare Institution for the Teaching Profession (Inprema).
Other additional claim is the payment of outstanding wages to teachers since 2008.
Protests and proposals
The Inprema Law was arranged without consultation with the education trade unions. It came into force in January 2012, despite strong protests from teaching personnel. Teachers say the law back-tracks on rights acquired for the profession.
The Inprema law is unconstitutional “because it reduces and distorts rights in the matter of Social Security guaranteed to teaching personnel by the Constitution”, explained Gloria Ondina, a member of the Executive Committee of the Primer Colegio Profesional Hondureño de Maestros (PRICPHMA).
Among others, controversial aspects of the law are the increase of the age of pre-retirement and the calculation of the retirement pension being based on the last 120 and even 180 wages instead of the last 36 wages.
The FOMH’s alternative proposal to this law strengthens the pension system of Honduran teachers, without any back-down on acquired rights. Nevertheless, the FOMH’s proposal was declared unconstitutional.
The President of the Colegio de Profesores de Educación Media de Honduras (COPEMH), Oscar Recarte, asserted that the declaration that the Inprema law’s modification was unconstitutional “is not a juridical ruling, it is not legal, it is a completely political ruling”.
After the refusal of the Constitutional Division, the FOMH decided to present a bill to the National Congress. It also decided to resort to international human rights bodies such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
The FOMH mobilised three departments (regions): Atlantida, Comayagua and Copan. There were also marches in Yoro, Lempira and La Paz.
The demonstrations called by the FOMH continued last week in the other remaining nine departments. These actions were set to lead to regional mobilisations, ending with a strike at national level, according to FOMH leaders.
The protests were organised to include parents and students.
EI denounces the reduction in social security rights worldwide. This is part of a larger move by some governments to place the rights to social protection as a public expenditure and cut them to make savings.
Governments are reminded that accessible social welfare, health services and education are all aspects of democratic societies that are also fundamental for economic growth.
EI expresses its solidarity with teachers in Honduras in their defence of fundamental labour and social rights that are necessary for the strengthening of the teaching profession and, by extension, of public education.