Teachers in Ecuador are in urgent need of international solidarity, as a result of the Correa government's threat to shut down its 72 year old teaching union UNE. The pretext for this unconstitutional move is that UNE has spoken out at the International Labour Organisation about the violations by the government of the right to freedom of association.

The President of UNE, Rosana Palacios, has sent out a call to unions all over the world to protest to the Ecuadorian government and send solidarity and support to her union. Already the global teachers federation, Education International, has responded to the call, saying that UNE 'deserves all our support at this critical time' and urging its affiliates to voice their solidarity.

The Correa government came to power, with the support of social movements and promising to resist neo-liberalism. It began well, using the wealth at the government's disposal from the extractive industries to fund public education better and enacting some policies to help the poor, such as the elimination of school fees. Its national debates setting out a new vision for education were supported by UNE and students' organisations. However more recently the government has implemented the usual corporate reform policies in education such as standardised testing, segregation of children and the domination of the curriculum by 'technical subjects' at the expense of the critical and creative. All of these measures according to former government minister and academic Edgar Isch are being enacted in the interests of big business as Correa frames himself as neither 'anti-capitalist nor anti-imperialist.'

UNE has been in the forefront of resisting the neo-liberal turn in education. As a result the government has taken a series of measures to weaken it, including the illegalisation of strikes in school time and an end to the automatic collection of union dues and union facility time. This latest threat is the culmination of these moves to silence UNE as it struggles to defend democratic and public education.

To read an analysis of Correa's education policies and UNE's response go here.

Please click on the solidarity and action icon below to find out what you and your union can do to support UNE