Administrative staff strike at state universities:
Professors may join them next week
ChilNet extract from El Mercurio, La Epoca
22 November 1996
Non-academic staff at Chile's 16 state universities initiated an
indefinite strike Thursday and may be joined by professors next
week if the government continues to turn a deaf ear to their
Association of State University Workers, Antue, which represents
some 26,000 university employees, left administration offices
yesterday to demand recognition from the government as public
employees and the full payment of promised salary raises.
of University Professors' Associations, comprised of 15,000
academics, will decide over the weekend if the "days of
reflection" they initiated yesterday will become an
indefinite strike by Monday.
Both groups agree
that since 1980, when the military rulers de-regulated
universities, state institutions of higher learning have been
excluded from the law of public employee salary adjustments.
and the Central Union of Workers agreed last week on a salary
adjustment of 9.9 percent for public employees. In the case of
state universities, however, the government will only contribute
a portion of that total. To make up the difference, The
University of Chile, for example, will have to allocate an
estimated $700 million pesos (US$1.6 million) of its own.
Aldo Alfaro repudiated "all attempts from university
authorities to cover budget deficits by raising student fees and
dismissing personnel." He warned that the mobilization will
conclude only once the Ministry of Education forms a table for
dialogue with government, unions, and university chancellors.
president of the Professors' Organization, said "the
Parliament wants us to modernize but governs us with laws that
date from 1980." Education Minister Jose Pablo Arrellana's
speech during the University of Chile anniversary ceremony gave
them reason for optimism, affirmed Saavedra, but now "the
government refuses to talk to us, ... when they already have had
bad experiences for their refusal to talk with teachers, health
care workers, and municipal employees."
Saavedra, the content of a bill the Education Ministry drafted to
aid state universities is unknown to either professors or
administrative staff because they have not had any input in its