Mexico, protesting teachers union will meet to discuss education reforms

MEXICO CITY, July 13 (UPI) — The Mexican government and the National Coordinator of Education Workers, or CNTE, teachers union have agreed to hold three meetings to potentially resolve disagreements over constitutional education reforms.

Mexican Secretary of Interior Miguel Angel Osorio confirmed meetings over politics and education will be held Wednesday and July 19, while a meeting on July 21 will cover social issues.

The union has held protests over constitutional reforms passed by Mexico’s Ministry of Education in 2013 that would force teachers to take examinations to be approved for employment, with further tests to maintain jobs. The intensity of the demonstrations — which have been ongoing since 2013 — have escalated to the teachers union setting up blockades that have created shortages of food and fuel in the past two months.

CNTE members have been on strike since May. Osorio previously said the government would not negotiate with the CNTE until the union stopped the blockades. The upcoming meetings will be held in Mexico City’s Government Secretariat office.

“It’s a very important achievement in favor of our country,” Osorio said of the meetings, which will be overseen by representatives from Mexico’s National Mediation Commission. “Through the dialogue, we continue advancing to find solutions.”

The CNTE has most of its support in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, where the blockades and shortages are most intense.

In Oaxaca, at least 10 people died when riot police attempted to disperse blockading protesters in June. In early July, Mexico’s air force delivered more than 100 tons of corn into Oaxaca to battle food shortages.

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