Teachers’ unions vs the government: The battle continues. Despite not reaching an agreement over wage increases, teachers in the Buenos Aires province have lifted their strike after four days, and classes started again today. The two camps will meet in the province’s Economy Ministry today at 3pm to try to reach an agreement once more. Representatives from governor María Eugenia Vidal’s administration anticipated they will bring an “improved” offer to the table, in an attempt to finally put the issue to rest.
Ever since wage negotiations began in February, the government and teachers’ unions have not been able to come to a decision regarding how much salaries should be increased for 2017. Government proposals have been continually rejected by the unshifting unions, who have labeled them as “insufficient, poorly organized or not properly thought out.”
Unions are also pushing for wage negotiations to be discussed on a national scale, rather than forcing each province to negotiate individually, a request the government has continuously rejected. Yet despite this ongoing disagreement, and the fact that the more hard-line of protesters wanted to continue striking until Monday – when state high schools are supposed to start their school year – children returned to school today.
- Read More: Teachers’ Strike: Vidal Calls Unions To Round Of Negotiation On Friday, Will Present An Improved Offer
We will have to wait until later on today for details of what this improved offer will entail. The last – unsuccessful – proposal was a yearly increase of 18 percent, paid in two payments with a “trigger clause” activated by inflation: an increase system by which wages increase in accordance with INDEC’s inflation figures. In a last attempt to get teachers to lift the strike, the Vidal administration also offered them a one time fixed sum of between AR $800 and AR $2000, depending on how much teachers earned.
The government also tried legal action to obligate teachers to go back to work while negotiations continued, but this was rejected by courts, who also ruled that the government cannot legally deduct from salaries for the days they didn’t work due to striking.
- Read more: Argentina’s Teachers’ Strike In Pictures
Whatever decision they come to will affect 280,000 teachers in the Buenos Aires province alone. It is estimated that more than 3.1 million preschool and primary school students were affected by the strikes this week.