Public Transport Drivers Announce Nationwide Strike Over Gas Price

(TELESUR) – Public transport drivers agreed Wednesday to start an indefinite nationwide strike starting Thursday to protest the elimination of gasoline subsidies announced by President Lenin Moreno as part of a neoliberal reform package.

“Starting Oct. 3 at midnight we announce the total suspension of all activities regarding transportation as there are no financial resources to face the new price of gasoline,” the President of the Federation of Urban Transportation of Ecuador (Fenatu) Manuel Medina said, urging “all to maintain unity.”

Workers’ unions of public transport and interprovincial buses, as well as the Chamber of Transportation in Quito and Guayaquil later joined the strike.

The decision resulted in the government decree that all schools, both public and private, to suspend classes Thursday, warning that “if necessary they will active constitutional norms as by law the paralyzation of public services is illegal.”

This comes as Ecuador’s President announced Tuesday the elimination of gasoline subsidies, tax and labor reforms, and other economic measures aimed at complying with the conditions of the loans granted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In a televised speech, he announced that executive order 883 “liberates the price of diesel and extra gasoline,” justifying his decision by saying that the Ecuadorean state allocates more than US$1.3 billion a year in fuel subsidies.