Chile on Strike

A huelga legal (legal strike) in Chile can take on a very festive air.

Para español, usa la herramienta de traducción o lee el resumen de abajo…

You’re walking down the street on any given Monday through Friday and you begin to hear a raucous hodgepodge of chants, horns, whistles, sirens, and drums. You get closer and you see a rowdy but happy-looking group carrying banners and signs and throwing shreds of paper like confetti and seeming to celebrate as if their favorite team had just one the world championship…

But look more closely; listen more closely, and you’ll discover that they are actually workers on strike. How different it seems from a strike in the US, where serious and somber workers pace in circles in front of their offending workplace! Here in Chile they get governmental permission to strike (and it is therefore known as a “huelga legal” or “legal strike”) and then really seem to be enjoying it!

Of course, as in any type of protest situation, there is a line that can be crossed by either or both sides, the police (carabineros) step in to break it up, and the situation can turn very ugly. This seems to occur most often with strikes against private companies rather than against governmental agencies.

The following youtube selection is a series of photos documenting a strike agains “Easy” a large hardware retail chain.

Do you have a story about strikes in Chile? Please let us know!

  • EN ESPAÑOL:

Si un día cualquiera, de lunes a viernes, caminas por el centro y comienzas a escuchar sonidos de silbatos, platillos, tambores y cánticos, sumados a un megáfono, seguro te encontrarás con un grupo de gente (en muchas ocasiones tan sólo 10 o 20 personas) bailando, saltando y tirando pedacitos de papel, como confetti. ¿Están celebrando la victoria de su equipo de fútbol? No. Si te acercas, verás sus pequeñas pancartas que llevan en las manos… Son trabajadores manifestándose en una huelga laboral.

Una forma muy distinta de manifestarse si lo comparamos con los Estados Unidos, donde los trabajadores se juntan en un círculo, serio y sombrío, frente al lugar del trabajo, guardando silencio.

En el vídeo podrás ver un montaje con fotos y videos de una manifestación de trabajadores de una gran empresa chilena llamada Easy.

¿Tienes una historia sobre las huelgas en Chile? ¡Cuéntanos!

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