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Thousands of Teachers in Mexico Protest Pending Education Reform Initiatives

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January 15, 2013

Mexican teachers protest a new labor law and a proposed overhaul of the country's education system. (EFE)

MEXICO CITY - Thousands of Mexican teachers took part in protests Monday against an overhaul of labor law and a pending education initiative that would substantially change the terms of their employment.

Around 2,000 members of the CNTE education workers association gathered in Mexico City for a march to the Supreme Court, where they delivered some 140,000 legal motions challenging the labor legislation approved last November in the final days of conservative President Felipe Calderon's government.

The new law allows temporary employment and probation periods for new hires, among other changes.

The CNTE militants also denounced "the false education reform" being pushed by new President Enrique Peña Nieto, which, if implemented, would vastly diminish the clout of teachers unions.

While Congress approved the schools initiative last month, because the plan requires amending the constitution, it must also be ratified by the legislatures of at least 17 of Mexico's 32 states.

Several of Monday's protests were aimed at influencing state lawmakers.

In the southern state of Oaxaca, thousands of members of Section 22 of the powerful SNTE teachers union staged a sit-in outside the legislature.

Around 10,000 teachers blocked roads on Monday in the neighboring state of Chiapas.

The head of the more-than-1-million-strong SNTE, Elba Esther Gordillo, has announced a program of peaceful resistance to the education overhaul, contending that it threatens teachers' job security.

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