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Teachers set deadline for debt payment

ChilNet extract from El Mercurio, El Diario
3 February 1997

The Teachers' Union set a deadline this weekend of April 30 for the government to take positive steps toward paying off a debt with the teachers from 1981. If the government fails to provide a satisfactory response, says Jorge Pavez, union president, the union will consider a national strike similar to the one which it undertook last October.

The government incurred the debt, which is estimated at $25-35 billion pesos (US$60-83 million), when it implemented Decree Law 3,551 to decentralize education into municipalities, affecting some 30,000 teachers. About 25,000 of those have cases pending in court, Pavez says.

Pavez says that although the union recognizes that the debt is not the responsibility of the current government in objective terms, "it is its duty to recognize it."*

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