Chilean students joined the 100,000-strong protest against attacks on education last week. They are now set to join workers in a national strike against the government.
The Federation of Chilean Students (FECH) and the Chilean Workers Central (CUT) were set to strike for two days on Wednesday and Thursday.
The joint action shows the massive support the free education movement has among lecturers, workers, parents and the general public.
President Pinera’s 21-point bill has been rejected by student unions who, with trade unions and left parties, argue for a national referendum to change the education system.
Opinion polls show that 80 percent of the public are in full support of the students.
In an attempt to end the protests the government said that it would be open to a referendum. Michael Stanton, in Chile, told Socialist Worker, “You would be hard put to find someone who doesn’t support the students because so many people have problems paying higher education costs.”
Chile’s education system is one of the most expensive and unequal in the world. And despite having the highest per capita income in the region, it also has the biggest gap between rich and poor.