Uruguay. According to COUNTRYAAH, Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay which is located in South America. President Tabaré Vázquez, who on March 1 was given the ungrateful assignment to take over after one of the most popular presidents of all time, José Mujica, faced significantly more challenges at home during the year than his representative. A prolonged teacher strike ended when the government in September threatened to postpone planned wage increases. Before that, the government had issued a 30-day strike ban in business areas vital to public service, such as education, but the unions responded by claiming that the ban was illegal and the strikes continued. Teacher protests were predicted to flare up again in the near future.
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The teacher strike coincided with a general strike announced by the central organization Plenario Intersindical de Trabajadores-Convención Nacional de Trabajadores (PIT-CNT), which was also about wage demands. On August 6, PIT-CNT announced a 24-day general strike, the first in seven years, in protest that the government’s wage increase proposal did not protect against inflationary effects. The union claimed, possibly with some exaggeration, that one million workers went on strike during the day, but Finance Minister Danilo Astori did not back down from the government’s wage increase proposal.
About the same time during the strikes, an overwhelming majority of the government coalition voted for the members of the Breda Front (Frente Amplio, FA) to oppose President Vázquez’s plan to negotiate an international service trade agreement (the so-called TISA agreement). Service production makes up a large portion of Uruguay’s GDP, but the left coalition FA’s left flank feared that the agreement would lead to excessive involvement of transnational companies in the country’s economy. President Vázquez accepted the decision but the private sector regretted it.