May 22, 2013
Santa Cruz governor Peralta awaits ruling enabling him to dismiss teachers
While Santa Cruz province teachers ratified their rejection to the wage increase ordered by Governor Daniel Peralta, the gubernatorial administration currently awaits a ruling that determines the illegality of the 52-day long strike.
Through a statement that was read on local television, Peralta announced a few days ago that his administration would raise teacher’s wages by 25 percent.
But the Adosac and AMET teachers' unions rejected the offer and confirmed that they would continue with their strike, which includes staging roadblocks in several refineries, and insisted on getting a 50 percent increase.
Peralta also announced that the office Santa Cruz's Attorney General requested that the strike is deemed illegal, because both teacher unions failed to abide by the mandatory conciliation dictated on May 2 and two rulings that ordered the union to obey the conciliation.
Santa Cruz Cabinet Chief Pablo González said that the implications of a ruling could end up in massive firing of teachers with justified cause.
Santa Cruz judges could rule the strike illegal on the basis that they are abusing their right to strike.
"A court ruling dictating that the strike is illegal will trigger two different outcomes: one is the national labour authority's intervention in the conflict and to see that it sanctions the union for strike abuse. When a strike is legal, the State can’t suspend the social benefits to those exercising their right to strike. However, if the strike is illegal, the government doesn’t have the obligation of paying the salary, can sanction the employee and can fire people with a cause,” González added.
The unions’ rejection to the Government’s wage increase was announced by lawyer Raquel Coronel.
According to the union representative, the Peralta administration first went against the law in 2010, when the collective bargaining began.
“The law determines that one of the parts requires collective bargaining, the negotiation table must be created two weeks after that, and the Government refused to sit down and negotiate and abide by the collective bargaining law. It took them 180 days to start the talks," Coronel said.
"The law never says that when negotiation is under way on the exercising of a basic right such as strike can’t be used. That is what powerful people say to control workers,” Coronel stated.