*Update* The superior council of UBA has today said that it has approved a “provisional” budget for the rest of the year, which will be discussed again in August. According to the Buenos Aires Herald, the budget has increased by only 1.4 percent, making it seem unlikely that it will cover the expenses arising from the removal of subsidies.
Students at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) are getting treated to class à la Dead Poets Society, but for some pretty politically charged reasons: professors protesting against what they see as inadequate salary increases and low education budgets, are ditching the classroom and taking their lessons to the streets, Subte and even Jorge Newbery Airport.
The week-long protest was announced last Wednesday by the National Historic Confederation of University Professors (CONADUH) after they rejected an initial offer for a 25 percent salary increase (to be paid in two installments). On Tuesday of this week, Education Minister Esteban Bullrich made a second offer for a 15 percent increase from May 1 to be paid in June, and then another 15 percent increase in December, which CONADUH rejected as well. The confederation is asking for a 45 percent raise in order to match rising inflation.
Teachers from UBA as well as other universities in the City of Buenos Aires and throughout the country have resorted to alternative tactics to bring attention to their demands. On Tuesday, the College of Philosophy and Literature conducted more than 30 classes outside and this morning lessons took place at a Subte station. Meanwhile, the College of Sciences set up class further afield in the hall of Jorge Newbery Airport. Teachers even set up a football game in the middle of the 9 de Julio to draw attention to their fight.
The week’s al fresco lessons haven’t been widely covered by local media and instead have been primarily shared on social media channels:
— Nahuel Trasmonte (@NahuelTrasmonte) April 26, 2016
están desfinanciando las universidades públicas. en la tv seguro no lo viste. se agradece la leída y el rt. pic.twitter.com/USzZht2pEs
— Nacho (@nachnop) April 27, 2016
The strike manifestation, explaining the reasons for the week long action.
— Nahuel Trasmonte (@NahuelTrasmonte) April 27, 2016
The university strikes are over that little thing called collective bargaining: negotiations between unions, employers and the government over annual salary increases. The negotiations have been an ongoing theme due to the rising inflation rates since President Mauricio Macri took office in December last year. Negotiators want to see their salaries increase to proportionate the rising cost of living.