Education International
Education International

Peru: teachers seek fair treatment and rights

published 4 September 2012 updated 6 September 2012

EI’s affiliate in Peru, Sindicato Unitario de Trabajadores de la Educación del Perú (SUTEP), has called for an indefinite national strike from 5 September. SUTEP decided to call the strike after months of attempted negotiation without result on its claims for basic labour rights.

The union is seeking an immediate salary increase for teachers. And it has asked that this increase is not conditional upon the bill of education being approved by Congress.

Union claims

The strike decree, presented to Peru’s Labour Department by SUTEP’s National Board sets out the 11 claims of the teachers. These include the defence of universal, free and quality public education; a full school day; a budget not lower than 6 per cent of GDP; as well as a payment equivalent to 30 per cent of their salary for preparation of the classrooms.

SUTEP seeks State respect and compliance of the rights acquired by teachers in Peru. After his first year in government, President Ollanta Humala did not fulfil commitments to teachers, even though he promised “a revolution in education” during his electoral campaign.

New bill

Teachers are also urging the Government to debate –a bill drawn up by SUTEP and presented through the College of Teachers of Peru to the Congress of the Republic in June for approval.

SUTEP claims a new law for teachers is required as two parallel work systems are currently in force, a “product of the eagerness of the government of former President, Alan Garcia, to submit the teachers to a hard policy of austerity”.

The bill deals with the fact that, in five years of government, the former government did not raise teachers’ salary floor by one cent. Furthermore it specifies that the government “stripped the teachers of their public career, whereby it rescinded Law 24029-2521, and broke up the unity of the teaching staff, so much prized by the workers’ organisations”.

Division and discrimination

The National Board considers that the present government is developing measures that are “an expression of the neoliberal continuism with the consistent division, discrimination, humiliation and backwardness of the professional educator”.

According to SUTEP, the Government is trying to impose an education reform law “that does not solve the problems of public education in Peru”, without discussion with the Mesa de Trato Directo which was set up for dialogue.

“Far from bringing solutions, the law makes an attempt on the rights acquired by the teaching staff, evidence that the objectives of this bill are not unification, dignifying or teachers’ development, but exclusively fiscal savings, as policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,” says the strike decree.

The National Board of SUTEP reiterates its wish for dialogue and asks the Executive Power as well as the Legislature to use “the Mesa de Trato Directo with the National Board in order to pay attention to the claims made and search for a quick solution to the conflict”.

International solidarity

EI supports the education staff in Peru. “We are united by our fight for the respect of our rights and the obtaining of educational policies agreed on by consensus that dignify and guarantee universal, free and quality public education for all,” pointed out EI President Susan Hopgood.

Additional links

Strike decree issued by the National Board of SUTEP Additional links Strike decree issued by the National Board of SUTEP here Draft of new law for education of SUTEP here Letter to the parents from the Federation of APAFAS Amazon Region here (in Spanish)

Draft of new law for education of SUTEP here (in Spanish)

Letter to the parents from the Federation of APAFAS Amazon Region here (in Spanish)