Ecuador: Pro- and anti-Correa marches mark May Day

President Rafael Correa led some 55,000 workers into Santo Domingo plaza. Photo: TeleSUR.

May Day celebrations in Quito took on a divided political nature with two marches happening simultaneously, TeleSUR English said on May 1.

One march celebrated strides in workers' rights under President Rafael Correa and his government's “Citizen's Revolution” while the other was organised by opposition forces.

Correa led the pro-Citizen Revolution march, making him the first Ecuadorean president to take part in a May Day demonstration.

Silvia Salgado, a pro-government leader of the Andean Parliament, said: “We are defending the unity of our people and of the working class. And today we have a government, which through its actions, has declared itself to be in favour of the workers.”

The recently passed Law for Labor Justice and Social Security by the National Assembly was a point of contention for the divided workers' movement.

The law has extended the social security system to cover about 1.5 million homemakers for the first time, strengthened job security by ending fixed-term contracts and provides greater protection for workers from historically marginalised groups.

Maria Quishpe of the Women for Life Organisation said: “This has been a 30-year fight for homemakers to have rights. And today, finally, this is a reality. We are here because we think that never again should a woman be fired for being pregnant.”

However, the law has also removed a provision that sets the government contribution to the Institute of Social Security at 40%. The level can now be set at the institution's discretion, a move criticised by opponents of Correa.

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