The Anef union representing 350,000 Chilean public employees said that 90 percent of the membership took part in the strike that was called Monday to demand a pay increase and protest a "wave of layoffs."
In a rally in front of La Moneda palace, hundreds of workers turned out on Monday morning to demand a 3.5 percent pay increase, while the government has offered 3.1 percent.
"We have been negotiating for two months and the government of (President) Sebastian Piñera has been unable to make proposals that allow us to advance on the agreement regarding these matters," Anef chief Carlos Insunza told EFE.
Insunza added that this national strike is being conducted within the framework of the annual negotiations that the workers undertake to adjust the pay and working conditions of the public sector.
"Also, our demands are focused on the wave of dismissals that the installation of the government of Sebastian Piñera entailed this year. More than 2,700 workers have been fired," he added.
Workers' representatives are due to meet later on Monday with the ministers of labor, Nicolas Monckeberg, and finance, Felipe Larrain.
After this meeting, "we are going to determine whether to continue or end the mobilization, but that depends exclusively on the government's proposals," Insunza said.