Teachers and education workers in Buenos Aires City will stage a 24-hour strike next week on July 11 after the PRO City Government led by Horacio Rodriguez Larreta refused to improve a previous offer of an 18-19 percent wage increase for the sector.
The decision followed a meeting of key teachers’ and educational workers’ unions in the City on Tuesday, including the Argentine Teachers’ Union (UDA), United Education Workers (UTE), Buenos Aires Educators’ Syndicate (SEDEBA) and Argentine Private Teachers’ Union (SADOP) among others.
“The strike was called because the City government did not meet with us and abandoned the roundtable on salaries unilaterally,” SEDEBA Secretary-General Raúl Sánchez Albertti said.
The announcement followed soon after news of an accord broached earlier this week between the Buenos Aires provincial government and education unions in Buenos Aires province, who are expected to agree to a 27.4 percent salary increase following an extended period of stalled negotiations and strikes.
Like Larreta, BA province Governor María Eugenia Vidal is a close ally of President Mauricio Macri and had also tabled an initial salary increase of between 18 and 19 percent, arguing that her government had no more resources with which to pay teachers.
Following a series of strikes from teachers in Argentina’s most populous province, Vidal backtracked on this assertion and made the offer of a 27.4 percent increase (including add-ons) that union leaders said they would likely accept.
As far as the Buenos Aires City goes, however, Larreta has as yet refused to follow suit, leading educational workers in the capital to announce this latest direct action.
“We hope to re-establish dialogue with the City government as early as possible because the 18 percent increase proposed up until now is not satisfactory because it does not address the needs of teachers,” Albertti said.
A joint statement released by City educational workers following Tuesday’s meeting highlighted the apparent discrepancies between the capital available to the City government, which enjoys degrees of autonomy from the national government, and how much teachers are getting paid.
“The richest jurisdiction in the country continues to have one of the lowest offers for salary increases,” the unions said.
“Given that provinces with much lower resources have offered and agreed percentage increases considerably higher in relation to what the government of Buenos Aires City has paid so far, it is incomprehensible that the richest jurisdiction of the country intends to pay such meager rates of increase,” the statement said, referencing inflation in the City which is generally higher than the national average.