The conflict between teachers throughout the country, their respective provincial governments and the Macri administration continues to dominate the public agenda two and a half weeks into the school year. In the second day of a new 48-hour national strike, members of teachers unions from all across the country arrived to the City of Buenos Aires to protest against the national government’s continued refusal to hold national wage negotiations.
The so-called “Federal Educational March” (Marcha Federal Educativa), which began yesterday in different regions of the country, will reach the Plaza de Mayo this afternoon, where several union leaders will deliver speeches and list their demands with union members coming from the Northeastern and Northwestern regions of the country, as well as Patagonia and Cuyo.
“It’s a time to fight against austerity measures, we will be all together in Plaza de Mayo. It will be a sign from every teacher. We are telling the government that we want wage negotiations, a living wage. We are defending our kids, we are defending public education, public university,” union leader Sonia Alesso told press.
Alesso went on to say warn that if the Macri administration doesn’t hold national negotiations after the Federal March, the union she belongs to will “hold an assembly and discuss what steps to take.” It seems like this will be the case, since national Education Minister Esteban Bullrich reiterated that the government will not hold any kind of negotiation at a federal level. He did say, however, that they are willing to discuss other aspects of their salaries.
“Not a national wage negotiation. There will be other negotiations over other issues, such as seniority and the school calendar…We will meet when they stop striking and once the provincial negotiations are over, so we don’t get confused, because it’s provinces who pay the teachers’ salaries,” the minister said in an interview with Radio la Red.
The conflict has unfolded differently in the provinces. While most teachers unions reached agreements with the administrations of San Luis, Tucumán and Salta, the situation couldn’t be more different in the Buenos Aires Province, where kids have not had class for 12 of this year’s 13 schooldays. However, unions from all provinces joined the march today in solidarity with those who didn’t reach an agreement.