Teachers in Puerto Rico are staging a mass protest today against cuts to their pensions. The teachers' union in Puerto Rico, the FMPR, has a long history of struggling against neo-liberal reform in the country, including privatisation of schools and the privatisation of teachers' pensions. It has also been on the receiving end of attacks on its right to exist as a union, having faced  and the of its leadership by the state.

Puerto Rico is an archipelago of Caribbean islands, which was colonised by the US and is still a territory of the US, despite the desire of its inhabitants, expressed in a plebiscite to be an independent state. The connection to the US has had the effect of increasing the pressure of neo-liberal reform on education, while at the same time teachers receive much lower salaries than the average for teachers in the US.

As well as today's protest, thousands of teachers gathered in the capital, San Juan, on Friday, carrying placards saying 'I am a teacher, I demand respect' and 'no-one plays with my pension.' The government of Puerto Rico has been advised by the non-accountable ratings agency, Moodys, to revise the teachers' pension fund in order to help balance the country's books - yet another example of unaccountable financiers dictating terms for the public services of states. The changes could mean that pensions for teachers will be cut by as much as 50% and may mean that pensions are funded entirely by teachers themselves, with no contribution from the state - a situation which could leave many teachers destitute, accordingto union leaders.