Thousands of teachers blocked several of Honduras' main highways on Friday to demand the repeal of a law that alters their pension scheme and to protest the government's chronic failure to pay them on time.

The protests effectively paralyzed traffic around the country's major cities for more than two hours, police said.

The mobilization was organized by the Fomh federation of teachers unions in response to the law changing the teachers' pension system and to the salary arrears, a situation affecting thousands of public school employees.

More protests are planned for next week, teachers union official Joel Espinal told reporters in Tegucigalpa.

The teachers' grievances don't justify their abandoning the classrooms, Education Minister Marlon Escoto said, adding that the nation's more than 2 million students are legally entitled to 200 days of instruction per year.

Escoto announced two weeks ago that the academic year will be extended from Nov. 20 to Dec. 14 to make up for days lost to teacher protests.

Honduran teachers earn an average of $350 a month. EFE