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  • Teachers from the ADEMU union protesting in Montevideo

    Teachers from the ADEMU union protesting in Montevideo | Photo: EFE/Archive

Published 3 September 2015

While the strike is over, the union has said it will continue fighting to secure the desired pay rise.

Teachers unions suspended the strike started two weeks earlier on Wednesday afternoon and went back to class without reaching any agreement with the government about their demands for a pay raise.

Nevertheless, they warned that they could mobilize again in the future with the same demands.

“We made the decision to suspend the strike ... The conflict is maintained in all its terms, but the tactical approach is changing,” said Emiliano Mandasen from the Association of Teachers of Secondary Education. “We will continue fighting for what we said: more budget in the building of high-schools... even though the government has praised in a little credible way our wage, without any deep negotiation.”

In the capital Montevideo, however, local teacher unions decided to maintain the strike, unlike other unions with national representation like the Pit-Cnt and the Fenapes of the Ademu.

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On Monday, the government sent Congress the bill determining the budget for the next five years, stating that if teachers do not agree until 2016 the pay rise of about US$860 per month (they demand US$1,000), this money will be invested into school infrastructure.

A week earlier, the center-left government of President Tabare Vazquez issued, for the first time since the return of democracy in the country, an executive order compelling teachers to return to classes for the sake of the pupils, while teachers claimed this was violating their right to strike.

On Sunday, Vazquez agreed to cancel the decree, asking teachers to go back to school voluntarily.

The strikes affected around 350,000 children enlisted in primary public schools, and almost 30,000 teenagers in secondary public schools. The strikes coincided with parliamentary debate over the budget for the next five years, involving adjustments in the wages of state officials.

President Vazquez, from the progressive Broad Front, formally took power on March 1 at a moment of an economic slow-down in the country, with unemployment rising to 7.4 percent in June, according to official estimates.

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