Teachers threaten new strike: If Ministry of Education
does not provide raisis agreed upon
ChilNet extract from La Epoca
19 November 1996
A month and
a half after public school teachers staged one of the biggest
strikes in recent history, the union is again threatening to halt
work over the payment of salary increases.
The Ministry of
Education and the Teachers' Union ended the strike in mid October
with an agreement that the government would pay approximately
US$7.3 million in total base salary increases in 1997 and double
that amount in 1998.
President Jorge Pavez said Monday, however, that teachers will
not finish out the school year if the government does not deliver
the US$7.3 million in full.
The conflict is
over "deductions" which the government must make in
paying out the funds. The union says the deductions Ñ which
could amount to almost US$2 million Ñ are the government's
responsibility. Pavez said there was no mention at the time the
October strike concluded that the deductions would be taken out
of the US$7.3 million. "It was not in the agreement,"
said the union leader.
"We know the
law... and we knew about this situation," Pavez said Monday.
"Our position is based strictly on the signed agreement,
which states there will be (US$7.3 million) to finance
salaries... . If they break the agreement, we are clearly in a
Minister Jose Pablo Arellano said he was surprised at the union's
statements, but the issue is not a new one and the ministry has
discussed it with union leaders. Arellano said the deductions are
a result of the remuneration formula chosen by the teachers Ñ
which is based on national minimum salary increases Ñ and
recalled that the government offered other mechanisms to resolve
"There is no
guarantee that using this mechanism 100 percent of the funds will
arrive in whole to the beneficiaries," Minister Arellano
added. "The ministry fully respects and is going to respect
the agreement it signed."
Pavez said he and Arellano agreed Friday "to make all
efforts this week with the technical teams to strive for a
compromise between the parties."
The bill which
would deliver the raises to the teachers should be ready no later
than next week, Arellano said. "If it is necessary to meet
(with the professors) to clarify points, we are going to do
so," he said. *