Union leader Roberto Baradel. Photo via Clarin

All bets are off. Based on today’s meeting the looming teachers strike The Buenos Aires Province government and the teachers’ unions didn’t reach an agreement regarding their salary increase and unless one of the two parties drastically lower its demands in the next hours, classes are not going to start on Monday.

In a meeting at the Province’s Labor Minister today, unions rejected the government’s offer for them to receive a single payment — which wouldn’t be included in their formal salary — of between AR $800 and AR $2,000, depending on how much each teacher makes.

The María Eugenia Vidal administration offered AR $800 for teachers who earn up to AR $15,000; AR$ 1,200 for those who earn between AR $15,000 and AR $30,000 and AR $2,000 for those who earn more than that. The offer would have added to the raise the provincial government already offered the unions, which would increase along this year’s inflation.

In exchange, the Vidal administration asked unions to lift the strike they called for next Monday and Tuesday, the first two days of the school year. Unions rejected the proposal, calling it a “bribe.”

“It wasn’t a proposal…they are disrespecting society as a whole,” said union leader Roberto Baradel when leaving the meeting. 

In contrast, representatives of the provincial government said that their offer aims at “preventing the strike and continue negotiating with the children in the classrooms.”

On top of everything, the provincial Labor Minister, Marcelo Villegas, legally compelled teachers to lift the strike while negotiations continue. In a press conference held after the meeting, provincial Economy Minister Hernán Lacunza warned the government will deduct AR $650 for every strike day. However, considering how high tensions are, it doesn’t seem this will get teachers back in the classrooms.