September 21, 2014
'If students miss class, protest serves nothing'
Following the salary agreement reached with public teachers, Education Minister Alberto Sileoni showed himself in favour of discussing a legislation to control strike actions by teachers' unions and prevent students from missing classes.
It was Buenos Aires province deputy governor Gabriel Mariotto who had triggered the debate first when unionized teachers launched an “indefinite strike” in the Daniel Scioli-run district earlier this month, saying education should be declare an “essential service.”
“They can work and protest, the demand does not become less decent. But they have to teach considering all the effort that is made. If kids are not at school, then (the protest) serves for nothing,” the minister said today, considering also that the collective bargaining process with state teachers should began earlier in the year.
On Monday, the Cristina Fernández de Kirchner administration resumed wage talks with national education unions, setting an increase of 28.7 percent that secures a 4,400-peso floor.
“Teachers’ negotiations have come to have an excessive responsibility, discussing salaries prior to the rest of the economic sectors. That factor creates pressures that turn agreements difficult. The most serious thing is that the lack of consensus leads to empty classrooms, turning the goal of 180 school days difficult to accomplish,” the official explained, commenting of the salary conflict in the province of Buenos Aires that was finally settled on Friday but barred 3.5 million students from school for 17 days.