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News > Latin America

Argentina: 4 of 6 University Unions Reach Agreement with Gov't

  • Students and professors held class outside the classroom for weeks to protest cutbacks.

    Students and professors held class outside the classroom for weeks to protest cutbacks. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 September 2018
Opinion

The agreement was reached after the Argentine government changed their proposed wage increase from 15 to 25 percent.

Four of Argentina's the six university unions leading protests and strikes against cutbacks in higher education have come to an agreement with the government on wage increases. However, despite the agreement, the National Federation of University Professor (Conadu) and the Federation of University Professor (Fedun) said they would remain on high alert and continue to fight back against “budget cutbacks, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies, and the shutting down of the Science and Technology, Health, and Work Ministries.”

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Wages were one of the main demands that prolonged the conflict between the public universities and the government of Mauricio Macri since the government's proposal didn't correspond to or consider the increasing levels of inflations. University workers demanded a 30 percent increase while the ministry offered a 15 percent increase. On Friday they agreed on a 25 percent average increase to be reviewed in December and February.

The agreement did not stipulate increases in the budget for higher education, a demand that appeared to be central throughout this year's protests. 

The Historic Conadu rejected the agreement and recommitted to strikes scheduled for next week, between September 10 and 15. They claim the agreement did not include the “trigger clause” initially proposed to guarantee that drastic changes in inflation rates would mean a new wage increase, and argued the 25 percent increase is too low given the 42 percent inflation rate estimated by the government.  

Education minister Alejandro Finocchiaro warned the union a strike would not be tolerated. “Historic Conadu can continue to show their discontent with other measures, but not with strikes. We have spoken to university directors… and instructed them to deduct days of the strike,” he said.

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