University professors have rejected the national government's offer to bring forward a scheduled wage increase.
Amid ongoing tensions including strike activity, the Mauricio Macri administration has offered to bring forward November's 4.2-percent increase to September. The adjustment would bring the sector's overall 2018 wage increase to date to 15 percent.
"The offer continues leaving us below inflation", said CONADU Historica Secretary General Luis Tiscornia, who said unions representing university staff want to "at least, maintain the spending power of our wages".
Unions are demanding a 35-percent wage increase in line with private inflation estimates and the government’s own concession to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that inflation will hit 30 percent this year.
Professors from 70 courses, across a number of faculties, last week gave free open-air classes to students just metres away from the Casa Rosada in Plaza de Mayo.
University workers enjoy the support of a large portion of the national student body and its federations. They will strike again on Thursday.
The public university system is facing the consequences of a three-billion-peso (US$98 million) budget cut for 2019, while chronic infrastructure problems and already-low wages in comparison to the private sector wear away at the key ingredient to the success of Argentina’s public universities: the commitment of professors, many of whom received their tertiary education in the public system.