Honduras: Union condemns intimidation of teachers

published 16 November 2012 updated 27 November 2012

The Federation of Teachers’ Organisations of Honduras (FOMH), of which there are five EI member organisations, has reported large-scale dismissals, salary cuts and temporary suspensions of teachers which have been justified by false allegations.

The union organisations and their teachers are suffering a direct attack after it held a national meeting on 30-31 August to consider its response to recent Government attacks on teachers.

The FOMH had convened the General Meeting in order to decide on its response to the Government’s violation of the general regulation on the status of teachers. Actions were considered to promote the demand for the repeal of the Fundamental Law on Education which threatens public education and the Inprema Law that strikes a blow at teachers’ employment rights.

That meeting was held within the framework of teacher union rights as protected by law. Nevertheless, the Government of President Porfirio Lobo, through a Departmental decree signed by the Minister of Education, Marlon Escoto Valerio, tried to intimidate education workers and prevent them from participating with threats of dismissals, salary cuts and temporary suspensions.

The FOMH has publicised its persecution, which infringes on the country’s Constitution and teachers’ status. In a press release, the FOMH said it was strongly protesting against the on-going persecution of teachers and their organisations, which is being led by Minister Escoto.

EI solidarity

EI has been informed of the situation by its members, all of which are also FOMH members: the Professional College of “Superacion Magistral” of Honduras (COLPROSUMAH), the College of Teachers of Secondary Education of Honduras (COPEMH), the Professional College of the Union of Teachers of Honduras (COPRUMH), the First Professional College of Teachers of Honduras (PRICPHMA), and the College of Teaching Specialists of Honduras (COLPEDAGOGOSH).

The Regional Committee of EI in Latin America has condemned this intimidation. It has called upon Latin-American teachers to monitor developments in Honduras, which has been experiencing threats and persecutions since the coup of 2009.

The EI Regional Committee has also demanded that the authorities abandon the Departmental decree imposing sanctions on education workers. It emphasised that these workers are within their rights to challenge Government policies which undermine the quality of public education.