Argentine teachers, labor unions take to the streets to protest gov’t

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Argentine teachers, labor unions take to the streets to protest gov't

There’s growing frustration among public school teachers in Argentina who are demanding a pay raise and better working conditions. Teacher unions and the government of Mauricio Macri each blame the other for failure to agree to a deal.

CGTN’s Joel Richards reports.

Argentine teachers, labor unions take to the streets to protest gov't

Argentine teachers, labor unions take to the streets to protest gov't

There’s growing frustration among public school teachers in Argentina who are demanding a pay raise and better working conditions. Teacher unions and the government of Mauricio Macri each blame the other for failure to agree to a deal. CGTN's Joel Richards reports.
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Meanwhile, millions of students missed a second day of classes as strike action delayed the start of the school year. Teachers from this primary school in Buenos Aires protested outside the education ministry.

Florencia Subelza says she voted for change in the last national election but feels let down by the government. With 10 years teaching experience, she’s concerned about the condition of public schools and teachers’ pay.

“People think in the city all schools teach full days, but that’s not the case. There are schools that teach half days and in those schools teachers are offered wages that leave them under the poverty line,” Subelza said.

Besides the national strike by Argentine teachers, there are other on-going labor disputes, including hospital workers and even the country’s professional footballers. Thousands took to the streets to protest on Tuesday after wage negotiations stalled.

The trade union leaders speeches are being drowned out by the workers who want a national strike called immediately.

Workers saw their spending power drop in 2016, in the face of 40 percent inflation. The government aims to cut inflation in half this year.

According to one international risk consultant, he blames the tension on this year’s mid-term elections.

“The government, of course, wants to limit expenditures, cut inflation, and it’s trying to limit pay raises. That will increase tension with the unions. It’s a little bit surprising how tough the government have come out against the unions if you compare to last year. I think it’s a risky strategy,” Juan Cruz Diaz of Cefeidas Consultancy said. Many workers want the unions, as well as the government, to provide answers well before that.