Argentina: Education International denounces multi-million peso fine for strike

The right to organize into trade unions in order to fight for better working conditions and a dignified treatment is an internationally recognized right.

In Argentina, the right to strike is enshrined in the constitution and must be respected by all.

Education International condemned the fine of 659 million pesos (€20 million) imposed on the Sindicato Unido de Trabajadores de la Educación de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (SUTEBA) [United Educational Workers Federation of the Province of Buenos Aires], after it held a 48-hour strike.

The strike was called by the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Educación de la República Argentina (CTERA) [Educational Workers Confederation of the Argentine Republic], which is affiliated with Education International, to call for the settlement of educational disputes, and to protest the revocation of programmes that encourage equity in education.

“The criminalization of social mobilization and the right to strike, is a way of violating and undermining democratic voices that are demanding their rights,” declared EI General Secretary David Edwards.

"We urge the government to engage in good-faith social dialogue based on the laws in force faith, and to abandon intimidating tactics,” he added.

Education International reiterated its solidarity with CTERA and SUTEBA, which are waging a daily struggle for quality public education open to all.

This fine is a clear tactic on the part of the government to weaken the collective voice of teachers who are demanding their rights and better conditions for public schools and their students.

These demands are pressing in view of the tragic death of two educational workers in a school of Buenos Aires, who were killed by an explosion caused by a gas leak. SUTEBA had denounced the lack of maintenance and infrastructure problems in this and other schools, but had not been heard. Vice-rector Sandra Calamano and custodian Rubén Rodríguez died, as they lined up to prepare breakfast for the students.

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