Today a court from La Plata ordered the Buenos Aires Province government to give back the money they deducted from the salaries of the teachers who have been consistently striking ever since the school year began in March. They have been protesting against the government’s refusal to hold national wage negotiations – Paritaria Nacional in Spanish – and what they consider to be an insufficient salary offer from the María Eugenia Vidal administration.
Moreover, the court determined that the bonus for attendance the provincial administration gave the teachers who didn’t strike must be considered an upfront payment of their future salaries. That way, the court avoids making a distinction between those who went on strike and those who didn’t, as it ruled that the union members exercised their right to protest.
“[The ruling’s importance] lies on the fact that they won’t be able to deduct striking days from those who exercised a constitutional right. It also condemns the intention to award those who tried to break the strike,” union leader Marina Jaureguiberry told La Nación.
Even though it seems it has lowered its intensity, the conflict between the teachers unions and the Vidal administration is far from over. Unions have stopped resorting to striking as a protesting method. Instead, they have set up a so-called “mobile school” outside of the National Congress to give visibility to their demands.
However, the government is stipulating that the structure needs to be taken down by May 5th. That’s when we will probably find out if both parties have been able to find middle ground once and for all, or if they will go back to square one two months after the beginning of the school year.