efe-epaGuatemala City

Thousands of Guatemalan teachers on Tuesday gathered on the Plaza de la Constitucion to bring pressure to bear on the government of Jimmy Morales to comply with the existing collective bargaining pact regarding working conditions.

The educators set up plastic tents outside the National Palace of Culture, the Metropolitan Cathedral and near the Presidential Residence, EFE verified.

However, the teachers did not provide any official statements, saying that their leader, Joviel Acevedo, the secretary of the Guatemalan Education Workers Union (Steg) is the "only" one who can do so.

The teachers were brought in to the capital from various regions in the country's interior to demand that the government adhere to the labor pact signed by the Morales administration in February.

Due to the protest, the passage of vehicles in the area was curtailed, and dozens of teachers placed sheets on streets and avenues and lay down on them under pieces of plastic that they had affixed to telephone poles to shield themselves from the brutally hot sun.

Thousands of students are being affected in the third week of the strike teachers are staging to get their demands - which include a pay hike - met.

Guatemalan Vice President Jafeth Cabrera warned Tuesday that if the teachers delay in returning to their classrooms, this will prolong the school year, which normally concludes in October each year.

The collective bargaining agreement signed in February includes a 5 percent teachers' pay hike for three consecutive years and a bonus of 2,500 quetzales ($337.38) each year, among other benefits.

The Education Ministry estimates that at least 950 million quetzales ($128.2 million) is needed to comply with the pact.