Today, public school teachers across the country are striking in protest of what they consider to be inadequate salaries in light of rising inflation. The Macri administration has refused to renegotiate wage increases, an agreement reached between the government, employers and workers known as “collective bargaining.” The Public School Teacher’s Union (Ctera) will strike today, while the Private School Teacher’s Union (Sadop) will strike on September 2nd. The Teacher’s Union of Buenos Aires Province (Suteba) will also strike at some point within the next month.
“On August 24, we strike throughout the country and will march in different provinces: we demand that collective bargaining talks be re-opened, an urgent salary increase and the continuity of national education programs. We also march against workers having to pay the income tax and demand that 10 percent of the nation’s GDP be destined to education,” Suteba union leader Roberto Baradel said.
Teachers in Buenos Aires Province went on strike earlier this month, with 3.3 million children being unable to attend classes as a result. Teachers previously were granted a 34.6 percent raise in their salaries; as a result of inflation and increasing gas and electricity prices, however, they say that the raise is not enough.
Baradel told Radio La Red, “It is incomprehensible that no one wants to talk about the fact that inflation is higher than salary raises. Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay is talking about an annual inflation over 42 or 44 percent, while our raise was 34.6 percent.”
Seven teacher’s unions are complying with the nationwide strike taking place today in order to reinstate negotiations, with a conference between leaders of the unions being held in the Buenos Aires headquarters of the National Federation of Teacher’s Unions (CONADU), as reported by Perfil.
General Secretary of CTERA, Sonia Alesso, said that the main aim of the strike is to re-open joint negotiations to ensure that teacher’s salaries will not fall below the line of “poverty” in some cases due to the inflation rates.
Alesso spoke to Radio Continental, saying that the negotiations that took place initially in February were not mindful of the inflation index that was being predicted for the coming year. In response, Education Minister Esteban Bullrich said that, “negotiations would not be re-opened since there has been a fall in inflation since last July.”
Back in February, the minimum wage for teachers increased from AR $6,060 to AR $7,800 (a 27 percent increase) and bumped up again to AR $8,500 in July (a 40 percent increase for lower-income teachers).