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Argentina: Trade Unions Welcome Revival of Social Dialogue

Following a year of trade union struggle, the government has issued a decree reinstating the National Joint Negotiation Committee for Teachers (Paritaria Nacional Docente).

Argentina's teachers are celebrating the progress in social dialogue and the fruits of ongoing resistance and struggle by the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Educación de la República Argentina (CTERA). Decree 92/2020, signed into law by the government last week, has reinstated the National Joint Negotiation Committee for Teachers — the main body promoting social dialogue within the education sector.

12 Months of Suspense

In January 2018, Decree 52/18, adopted by the Cambiemos political coalition, abolished the National Joint Negotiation Committee for Teachers. Since then, CTERA has been engaged in an action plan that teachers around the world have been following with interest through social networks and the EI website.

The biggest achievements of the mobilisation were the two Marchas Federales Educativas (Federal Educational Marches), which saw over 400,000 teachers from all across Argentina converging in the Plaza de Mayo; the installation of the Escuela Pública Itinerante (Itinerant Public School) outside the National Congress of Argentina, which then proceeded to travel throughout the country's provinces; the Paros Nacionales (National Strikes) and demonstrations in front of the National Congress, the Ministry of Education and the Plaza de Mayo, as well as countless trade union actions, both nationally and within individual provinces. A complaint was also submitted to the ILO with the support of EI and other member organisations.

CTERA: "We Won by Fighting"

"We won by fighting", states the organisation's official statement signed by Sonia Alesso and Roberto Baradel, General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary, respectively. This struggle and resistance against the destruction of a fundamental tool for education workers has made it possible for Argentina's new government to undertake the task of restoring it, and on 22 January the enactment of this decree officially re-established the National Joint Negotiation Committee for Teachers.

Alesso has noted that for CTERA and "for all education workers in Argentina, this victory is the result of their relentless struggle against neoliberal education policies of regulation and removal of rights".

Trade Union Strategy

CTERA has announced that, during the next negotiation meeting of the National Joint Negotiation Committee for Teachers it will raise the following points for discussion: increasing the education budget, improving the quality of education, raising starting salaries for education workers, increasing the Fondo Nacional de Incentivo Docente (FONID - National Teacher Incentive Fund) and the Fondo Compensador (Compensatory Fund), as well as improving teacher training, school maintenance and construction, socio-educational programmes, pedagogical issues and national education policies, among other topics.