BUENOS AIRES – Tens of thousands of teachers from across Argentina marched on Wednesday from different neighborhoods toward the presidential palace in Buenos Aires to demand that pay hikes keep pace with inflation.
The Confederation of Education Workers of the Argentine Republic (Ctera), which organized the march, said that it expected some 150,000 people to take part.
Protesters demanded that the national-level bargaining on cost-of-living adjustments be restored, that more funding be earmarked for education, as well as a commitment to keep schools open.
Ctera also urged the government to abandon negotiations with the International Monetary Fund on a stand-by credit line.
“It has always harmed our countries and Latin America, leading to layoffs, austerity and hunger for education workers,” Ctera’s secretary, Sonia Alesso, told EFE, referring to the record of IMF involvement in the region.
Alicia Quevedo, leader of a local union in San Isidro, Buenos Aires province, criticized the government’s proposal of a 15 percent rise in salaries “divided in several installments throughout the year, which amount to less than 15 percent,” while teachers are demanding at least 25 percent.
“Inflation will be greater than that this year, greater than what we are demanding. There is no government intention of solving the conflict,” Quevedo said.
This is the second year that negotiations to raise salaries have only been carried out at a provincial level and not at a federal level, which prevents the establishment of a nationwide benchmark.