Four teachers unions confront Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and this Thursday they will strike in the schools of the city of Buenos Aires. protest is a reaction to an advertisement for head of the Buenos Aires government –the latest in a series of cuts to teachers’ labor rights–, which wants move teacher training activities that take place on weekdays to Saturdays. In defense of this change, Larreta argued that students like this will have more days of class, but above all he politicized the measure: he started by saying that in October the boys will make up the classes they did not have the national holiday arranged after the attempt to assassinate the vice president Cristina Kirchner. That is, the well-known PRO strategy of polarizing from the right, both with the teachers’ unions and with the Frente de Todos.
They called to stop the unions UTE, Sadop, Ademys and Camyp. The strike will affect all educational levels, that is, initial, primary, secondary, tertiary, pre-university schools and teacher training institutes. In the street, the unions will carry out hugs to schools, open spokes Y traffic lightsto publicize the conflict. William Parody, deputy secretary of UTE (Ctera), left early to maintain that “the strike is in repudiation of the decision that we work on Saturdays.”
“What Larreta is doing is using a marketing and electoral argumentof supposedly ‘improving education’, to intimidate teachers and affect our working conditions”, raised the UTE press secretary, Paula Caligniana, on the way in which the union understands the resolutions of the head of the Buenos Aires government and the Minister of Education Soledad Acuña. In this sense, she explained that the Spaces for Institutional Improvement (EMIs) moved to Saturdays are training meetings; The teaching statute establishes that all training must be carried out during working hours. It is a historical right: since 1949, teaching has been working from Monday to Friday.
“The Buenos Aires government wants to unilaterally modify our working conditions with a ministerial resolution. That includes the intention that promotion contests also take place on Saturdays,” said Caligniana.
The resolutions, he added, show on the other hand “a contempt for pedagogical training.” “The PRO tries to make the training sessions and teacher reflection spaces look like minor moments in the life of the schools, like things of no importance”. But the EMI “are the only moments that a school has to bring all its teachers together to discuss the situations that occur in the classroom, reflect on it and generate strategies to solve problems. Fundamentally pedagogical issues are resolved. School dynamics make it impossible to hold these meetings on a school day, because teachers go at different times and we are responsible for the care of minors while they are in school. By passing the EMIs to Saturdays and giving them an optional character, the Buenos Aires government empties them. Empty a collective space”.
The head of the Buenos Aires government released the 2023 school calendar last week. He then said that the school year will have 192 days next year, “12 more than what is established in the mandatory calendar.” The start of classes will be on February 27, “for the third year they will start early” and will end on December 22.
“In order to reach 12 days above the mandatory calendar -explained Larreta-, we are going to reduce the days that the boys lose due to institutional improvement, which is due to teacher training”, moving the three days of EMIs to Saturdays .
Edward Lopezhead of UTE (Ctera), considered that the head of the Buenos Aires government “chosen as political opponents of teacherswhich are a sector that they cannot bend, buy or trample on”, and questioned Rodríguez Larreta’s strategy of centralizing measures in the area of Education “as the axis of his campaign and because that is what the focus groups indicate”.
“This started when there was a holiday due to the attempted assassination of Cristina Kirchner. They want to make the teachers pay for that holiday and make them go on Saturdays so that they ‘recover’ that day that Rodríguez Larreta himself described as ‘lost,’” he also stated.
The advancement of classes is another questioning of the unions. In this regard, private school teachers unionized in Sadop agree in pointing it out as another political marketing measure. In a press release they stated that Larreta brings classes forward “to position himself for next year’s elections,” as a way to get media coveragediffering from the national government and the date chosen by the Federal Council of Education, which brings together ministers from all over the country.
Ademys will start the strike with a press conference at 8:00 a.m. in Callao and Corrientes. In the assemblies that it held to vote for the strike, the union also approved to continue with a plan of struggle, and to call for the organization of assemblies and district actions during the week.
To the list of rejections and questions that the unions make to Together for Change is added a long series of requests: reopening of a table to discuss salaries and increases in the number of vacancies “because 55 thousand children were left out” of schooling.
They also demand recomposition and expansion of the benefits of the educational social work, construction of schools in the most unprotected neighborhoods, titling of teachers and expansion of positions, ensuring buses for activities outside the school and having participation in the preparation of curricula for future teachers.