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Argentina reopens the Joint National Commission for Education with a salary increase

Education unions met with the President of Argentina to decide the next steps, after the government relaunched social dialogue.

A new cycle begins for Argentinean social dialogue, with the reopening of the Joint National Commission for Education by the government led by Albert Fernández. Government and education unions met in Buenos Aires to decide on the first steps after the relaunch of social dialogue. The meeting was attended by David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International; Hugo Yasky, National Deputy and President of Education International Latin America (IELA); Sonia Alesso, Secretary General of CTERA; Roberto Baradel, Secretary General of SUTEBA; Carlos de Feo, Secretary General of CONADU; Combertty Rodríguez, Education International Senior Regional Coordinator for Latin America; and Eduardo Pereyra, Secretary of International Relations at CTERA.

David Edwards congratulated Alberto Fernández on the relaunch of social dialogue, stressing that the Joint National Commission is a unique institution in the region. He expressed his organisation's support for the Argentinean government in the external debt negotiations, which the government is currently carrying out with the aim of creating the conditions for sustainable economic growth and ensuring sustainable financing of public education. David Edwards also pledged to strongly defend Argentina's position in international forums before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and private creditors, with a view to adjusting the terms and amounts of the debt and avoiding the suspension of education financing. Education International will ask the IMF to ensure that the new debt negotiations are aimed at educational development and the achievement of sustainable development goals, with the support of the international community.

President Fernández accepted Education International’s invitation to participate in and speak at a conference on democracy to be held next autumn in New York.

 

Towards a consensus

Speaking to Página12, Education Minister Nicolás Trotta, who attended the meeting, stated that the decision to reinstate the Joint National Commission indicated a willingness to engage in a “consensus-building process”. He also announced an increase in the minimum wage – a statement that will open negotiations to be held over the next few days in many provinces. He congratulated the unions for the “remarkable efforts” made to restore the negotiation process.

At a press conference, Sonia Alesso welcomed the opening of a forum for discussions on wage issues, working conditions, and the training and skills of teaching staff. She said the unions would ask the ministry to implement the law on education financing and increase investment in the sector to 6% of GDP.

 

National Joint Commission

The negotiating body was established in 2006 under the Education Financing Act. Its role is to set the minimum wage for teachers at national level. Under the Macri government, the Commission was convened only once in 2016 and was immediately abrogated, despite opposition from the unions. The unions organised numerous actions and received strong international support.

Since the election of the new government of Alberto Fernández, social dialogue has been re-established in Argentina. Classes in schools will start next Monday.