Teachers dig in heels ahead of 4th day of strikeTuesday, March 11, 2014
Schools remain closed in 6 provinces
Teachers unions in six provinces continued down the path of strike activity today, when many will be meeting with provincial for negotiations, as classrooms remain empty for a fifth day and the start of the school year gets pushed back to tomorrow at the earliest.
A fresh go at strikes began yesterday for 48 hours in four provinces — Buenos Aires, Tierra del Fuego, Mendoza, and Chubut — and up to 72 hours in Jujuy and Chaco provinces. The day was characterized by much from both corners of the pay negotiation ring, with the heads of two of the country’s largest unions from Buenos Aires province reiterating their campaign for provincial and national governments to provide “a dignified and fair pay offer,” while the national government announced it would look at extending the current 15-day mandatory conciliation that some unions have already complied with and putting a deadline on 2015 wage negotiations of December this year.
At the heart of the conflict with the Buenos Aires provincial government, Roberto Baradel from the Buenos Aires Unified Union of Education Workers (SUTEBA) suggested that teachers in his movement would return to school tomorrow “so long as today’s pay talks with the (BA province) government produce a fair and decent pay offer.”
Baradel added that the offer should not include any additional payments “that don’t form part of a salary,” in reference to the contentious attendance bonus that has been offered at both a national and provincial level.
His counterpart in the striking Buenos Aires Federation of Educators (FEB), Mirta Petrocini, announced that 97 percent of teachers in the province had adhered to yesterday’s strike activity, which would continue today in the form of “demonstrations, assemblies, open microphones, pamphlets and numerous activities to make known” their disdain of the Scioli administration’s offer of a three-stage pay hike throughout this year that would total 24 percent.
Governor Daniel Scioli said yesterday from Mendoza province that he was hopeful that “an agreement could be reached, because we’re reasonable when it comes to the offer we’ve put forth.”
Some 4.7 million students in BA province will again miss out on school today, as the SUTEBA and FEB sit down at the negotiating table with representatives of Scioli’s administration.
That measure — which currently forces striking teachers back into classrooms for 15 days — was on the radar of national Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich yesterday, he announced that the government would consider extending the conciliation it had ordered on February 28.
He also hinted at the possibility the government would bring the deadline for 2015 pay negotiations to December this year to avoid a repeat of the current stand-off with teachers.
Herald with DyN