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News > Uruguay

Uruguayan Teachers on Strike For Better Wages And Budget

  • The banner reads,

    The banner reads, "Words are not enough, resources are needed," Montevideo, Uruguay, Aug. 18, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @FenapesUruguay

Published 18 August 2021
Opinion

The National Federation of Secondary Teachers Secretary Jose Olivera denounced that President Lacalle's reduction in teaching hours is intended to lower wages. 

On Wednesday, over 20,000 elementary and secondary school teachers began a 24-hour strike to demand that Uruguay's President Luis Lacalle improve their salaries and democratize education.

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"Since the beginning of the current school year, 7,836 hours per week have been vacant in secondary schools. Students have lost about a million hours of classes," the National Federation of Secondary Teachers (FENAPES) Secretary Jose Olivera stated and denounced that the reduction in teaching hours is intended to lower wages. 

In Montevideo's May First Square,teachers demanded that 6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) be allocated to the National Administration of Public Education and that the teachers’ wages be adjusted to 100 percent of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) this year in this South American country.

Besides requesting that their salaries be indexed to the current inflation rate, the teachers demanded that the budget of the public education system be increased until it reaches the equivalent of the 6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

The Lacalle administration blamed the teachers for not being at schools to provide food services to students. "Calling a strike is a workers' right, but, in this case, the measure harms those we most need to protect: the students."

In response to these claims, Uruguay’s Teachers Federation (FUM) Secretary Elbia Pereira remarked that the feeding of students is not the teachers' direct responsibility and that the same situation is generated during holidays when schools are closed.

On March 1, educators also demonstrated against the reduction of up to 50,000-hour classes, which included two hours of teacher coordination per week. "This leads to an increase in the number of students per group, which plays against compliance with the COVID-19 related protocols," FENAPES stressed.

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