Nationwide collective bargaining for teachers (suspended since 2017) made a successful comeback last Wednesday when the five main union confederations (including Ctera grouping around 70 percent of the profession) reached agreement with the Education and Labour Ministries on a pay floor of 23,000 pesos as from tomorrow and 25,000 pesos from July.
This pay floor will be bolstered by monthly incentive payments of 1,210 pesos between March and June. Thanks to these incentive payments, the improvement – 13 percent as from tomorrow and 16 percent in July – will end up totalling 23.5 percent overall from the current level of 20,250 pesos.
As a result classes will be starting normally throughout the country – this Monday for all but three provinces – except for strike-ridden Chubut Province.
Only two meetings were required to achieve this positive result, Education Minister Nicolás Trotta announced at a Wednesday press conference immediately after the pay agreement had been signed.
Trotta, who kicked off the school year in Mendoza on Wednesday, hailed the “consensus” and described the pay talks as “the first meeting in the challenge which Argentina must now face regarding a progressive process of educational investment.”
Apart from Ctera the union groupings signing the agreement were UDA, the CEA, Sadop (private teachers) and AMET (technical schools). Sadop (headed by Jorge Kalinger) had not participated in collective bargaining since the Mauricio Macri administration came to power.
Since only nine of the 23 provinces had topped the previous pay floor of 20,250 pesos, considerable outlay will be required from the national government to bring salaries up to 23,000 pesos across the country. Provincial governments have been responsible for paying teachers ever since education, health and other services were decentralised by the Carlos Menem administration in 1991-1992.