Buenos Aires Times

economy Unions have rejected 15% increase

Collective-bargaining decree sets tone for teachers’ salary talks

With the start of classes now only six weeks away, the issue of teacher pay is assuming its usual protagonism at this time of year.

Saturday 20 January, 2018
To the left, head of Ctera, Sonia Alesso. To the right, Education Minister Alejandro Finocchiaro.
To the left, head of Ctera, Sonia Alesso. To the right, Education Minister Alejandro Finocchiaro. Foto:FILE

More Economy News

With the start of classes now only six weeks away, the issue of teacher pay is assuming its usual protagonism at this time of year. 

While teacher unions have already flatly rejected a 15 percent salary increase in keeping with this year’s government guidelines, in his first working week of the year President Mauricio Macri has signed a decree to scrap collective bargaining at the national level, thus jeopardising the start of classes.

If the government can argue that this move only completes the decentralisation of education imposed by the Carlos Menem presidency a quarter-century ago, the unions complain that it eliminates the national minimum salary which was an important benchmark both for provincial negotiations with teacher unions nationwide and for collective bargaining in general.

While the Macri administration is rigidly defending a wage cap, this decree effectively removes any floor, leaving teachers at the mercy of the financial capacity and the goodwill of their respective provinces, the unions protest. Yet the decree does establish a floor by saying that teacher salaries cannot be lower than 20 percent above the national minimum wage, as defined by then-education minister Esteban Bullrich in 2016. The current minister, Alejandro Finocchiaro, who replaced Bullrich last year when the latter commenced a successful senatorial campaign in Buenos Aires province, defended the decree. 

As a nationwide union, CTERA in particular feels attacked by this decree, since reducing pay negotiations to the provincial level effectively condemns it to irrelevance.  With 420,000 members CTERA is by far the largest national union but there are four others – Sadop, CEA, AMET and UDA.

– TIMES

Poll

Op-Ed

Top Stories

  1. 1Building solid structures to engage our readersBuilding solid structures to engage our readers
  2. 2INDEC: Inflation in September reached 6.5%
  3. 3Peronists rally in north amid growing signs of 'unity'
  4. 4IMF cuts global growth forecast to 3.7% for 2018
  5. 5Million-dollar bottle: Rare Scotch whisky fetches record price at auction
  6. 6Trade imbalance casts shadow over warm relations with US
  7. 7Malcorra on Macri: 'The State is not a business'
  8. 8'We'll meet again" – Trump, Kim hold historic denuclearisation summit
  9. 9Nearly half the world lives on less than US$5.50 a day, says World Bank
  10. 10President Macri: We must improve sex education in schools