May 21, 2013
No school in 15 provinces as teachers' strikes begin
ATE state workers to also stage national strike for today
The 2013 school year will today begin with most of the nation’s classrooms vacant due to protest measures being implemented by teachers unions due to the lack of salary adjustment agreements with different provincial government authorities.
Of the 23 provinces and the Federal Capital, only the following will have schools open today: San Luis, Formosa, Chaco, La Rioja, Jujuy, Salta, Misiones and Tierra del Fuego. The national government criticized teachers for not understanding the 22-percent wage hike offer provided by Education Minister Alberto Sileoni, who described the raise as orientative, rather than final. At least 15 provinces (Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Córdoba, Mendoza, Neuquén, Río Negro, Santa Cruz, San Juan, Catamarca, Tucumán, Corrientes, Santiago del Estero, Entre Ríos and La Pampa) will be affected by today’s strike.
Several provincial administrations announced that they would cut the strike day out of the salary of teachers who decided to protest in districts that had already reached an agreement and demanded obligatory conciliation.
The strike measure had been officially ratified yesterday by the largest teacher’s union CTERA chief Stella Maldonado, which gave even more weight to a protest that includes the UDA, AMET, CEA and SADOP Education unions.
Maldonado confirmed that the protest measures would involve “a 24-hour strike today and a series of protest measures on March 6,” but said that many provinces will begin the school year tomorrow.
The Buenos Aires provincial teachers union decided to hold a 48-hour strike beginning today, in response to the provincial government’s request to wait till March 15 to begin discussing salary adjustments.
At the same time, the Buenos Aires City teachers’ union will decide tomorrow over the government’s 26 percent wage hike that was offered to over 17 unions, which would be paid in two installments.
City Education Minister Esteban Bullrich was confident that classes would begin on schedule next week. “The salary adjustments are difficult this year because we are facing a difficult financial situation, but we are willing to compromise,” said Bullrich.
State workers union to strike today
The ATE state workers union will strike today and hold protest marches in different parts of the country today to demand salary hikes.
The union’s leader Julio Fuentes had demanded that the government modify the federal tax revenue sharing regulation and said that “there are workers who don’t even make 1,000 pesos.”
The protest measures will be implemented for 24 hours, and the largest protest march will begin in Buenos Aires City at 11am, starting in front of Congress and ending at the Buenos Aires province office in the capital. Along with salary hike demands, the union is also asking for family benefit increases, and an 82 percent pension fund increase for retirees.
Buenos Aires provincial public hospital workers, belonging to the CICOP workers union, declared via a press release yesterday that they will join the ATE strike in demand of salary increases.
Fuentes said that a lack of a minimum salary laws in towns and provinces would be improved with better revenue-sharing: “Public sector workers are getting poorer every day, especially in the interior. Many do not even earn 2,875 pesos.”
Herald with DyN, Ambito.com, Telam