Photo via Tigre al Día.

An appeals court annulled an injunction forcing the Macri administration to call for national wage negotiations with the teachers unions at a national level today. The court argued that the injunction and the purpose behind teachers unions pressing the charges in the first place were effectively one and the same — getting the government to hold national negotiations — and therefore the legal process and the government’s right to defense were being affected.

For that reason, the ruling stipulated that the court will be able to order the government to finally call the negotiations, but only when it issues a final ruling. However, these processes usually take a long time — especially considering how slow the Argentine legal system tends to be — and it’s likely that by the time this happens, the unions will have already reached an agreement, whether they consider it beneficial or not.

The legal sparing between both parties began in early April — coinciding with the massive teachers march — when first instance Judge Dora Temis upheld a request from a union (called UDA) to force the Macri administration to hold wage negotiations at a national level.

The union argued that by not doing so, the government is breaking the “educational financing law,” which establishes (in article 10) that the national Education Ministry, along with the federal council of education and the five national teachers unions must produce a framework of an agreement every year that includes the minimum salary for teachers throughout the country. Taking that as a standpoint, then, the provincial unions would negotiate their yearly wages with their respective administrations.

The mobile school set up by teachers unions as a way of protesting. Photo via Clarin
The mobile school set up by teachers unions as a way of protesting. Photo via Clarin

 

The Macri administration, in contrast, has refused to hold national negotiations, arguing that it has already done so effectively by agreeing with unions that this year’s salaries have to be at least 20 percent higher than the national minimum wage.

By the time the ruling is out, most provincial teacher unions will likely have reached an agreement with the administrations. In fact, 11 out of the 24 jurisdictions in the country — some of the most populated ones like Córdoba, Santa Fe and Mendoza among them — have already done so, La Nación reports.

The main conflict is still taking place in the Buenos Aires Province, where the María Eugenia Vidal administration and the provincial unions, led by Roberto Baradel, continue failing to reach an agreement.

After weeks of relative calm, the conflict in the largest province of the country might soon get heated up again, as Roberto Baradel was reelected as Secretary General of Suteba, the largest teachers union in the territory.

During the negotiations, Baradel always had an intransigent stance towards the government representatives, arguing that their offers never got close to satisfying their needs, and making clear he wouldn’t compromise on the unions’ demands. After confirming his fourth term as head of Suteba, Baradel didn’t rule out going back to “displaying measures of force” to try to get the government improve its offer.