The Federation of Organizations of Teachers in Suriname (FOLS) presidium has made the decision to request that all of its member unions remain at home on Wednesday, November 30. It is a one-day action designed to protest and inform the government about the escalating US dollar and euro exchange rates and their effects on product and service prices.
The FOLS presidency’s leadership made this choice on November 23. Concerned are the following unions’ members: the Catholic Teachers Union, the Christian Teachers Union Brotherhood, the Surinamese Public Teachers Union, the Islamic Teachers Union, and the Union of Teachers in Technical Education. The working class, retirees, those with disabilities, and families with low incomes, among others, are currently suffering the most from inflation and the unstable currency rate. The “as yet” dismal scenario affects many facets of family life as well as significant portions of society.
On Friday, October 14, 2022, President Chan Santokhi formed the Platform Exchange Rate Stabilization to stabilize the currency in Suriname. The Platform will talk about ideas and suggest fixes. These answers will then be provided to President Santokhi within three months. The Platform has been operational for more than a month as of Tuesday, November 29, yet the erosion of purchasing power is getting worse every day. According to FOLS president Marcellino Nerkust, it is significant that the socioeconomic situation has halted and that the administration lacks a plan to alleviate the situation for society as a whole.
The members of the Education Unions linked with the FOLS are under increasing pressure to find ways to survive and are under survival stress, which causes them to put off imparting Education without even recognizing it. The quantity of illness reports and referrals for the treatment of psychological disorders is added to this. The fact that many retail establishments price their products in US dollars yet require customers to pay the equal amount in SRD, with an exchange rate of between SRD 31 and SRD 34 to the US dollar, is a major source of annoyance. How long may a citizen continue in this manner?
The Epidemiology Department of the Bureau of Public Health has indicated in reports that the number of Covid-19 cases as well as the number of hospital admissions are showing an upward trend, so the Presidium has for the time being chosen this action model of “staying at home for one day,” i.e. not for a mass meeting, based on its responsibility. The lung virus is more prone to spread in a large crowd. And the latter is not now required by Suriname’s educational system.
Teachers, stay at home on Wednesday, November 30, 2022, in protest against the exchange rate that has gone out of hand and its effects on pricing, goods, tariffs, and service. This has been the FOLS’ reasoning for choosing the one-day action model for the time being.