BUENOS AIRES – Teachers and members of social organizations gathered Tuesday in front of the Argentine Education Ministry to protest what they said were 3,000 layoffs, of whom 2,600 are instructors with the National Teacher Training Plan and 400 are public educational employees.
The demonstration is part of the 24-hour strike staged by workers at the ministry in defense of public education and against layoffs, the capital’s Association of State Workers (ATE) said in a statement.
According to the text, since Mauricio Macri assumed the presidency in December 2015, 3,000 workers have been fired and 130,000 teachers have been unable to finish their training update program.
“The layoffs would affect a million teachers and 10 million children because quality public education is also linked with the updating of teacher training,” said Roberto Baradel, the head of the Suteba educational workers union of Buenos Aires.
He said that the government – not the state – “wants” the teachers to bear the cost of the training courses and thus “do business” or make money.
According to Baradel, so far they have not met with government representatives because Macri and the education minister are on “vacation.”
“It’s not bad that he’s on vacation. What’s bad is that while he’s on vacation, he’s laying people off,” he added.
The ATE chief for the capital, Daniel Catalano, said that the negotiations with the government are at a particularly “tense” spot right now because “at this time” the administration does not have the “willingness to negotiate.”
Catalano said that the demonstration comes after the government had “broken” an initial accord that both parties arrived at last Friday.
Although Education Minister Esteban Bullrich has not commented officially on Tuesday’s protest, officials within the Education Ministry told the daily La Nacion last Thursday that it is not about layoffs but rather the non-renewal of the contracts of 400 people for failing to put in sufficient work time.
The social organizations said that about 2,000 people participated in the protest before the Pizzumo Palace, where the ministry is headquartered.