Argentina: police fight teachers

Two leaders of the Argentine teachers’ unions—Stella Maldonado, general secretary of the Federation of Education Workers of the Argentine Republic, and Alejandro de Michelis, press secretary for the Union of Education Workers—were among those injured on Oct. 20 when Buenos Aires city police agents tried to keep protesting teachers from installing a tent in front of the municipal building. The teachers had planned to start a 100-hour vigil at the site. After the confrontation, the teachers’ unions and the Federation of Argentine Workers (CTA) declared a 24-hour national strike starting at noon on Oct. 21.

Teachers in the capital have been pushing since August for a 20% pay raise, the return of scholarships to students and improvements in school cafeterias. Mauricio Macri, the center-right head of the city’s government, is facing a number of conflicts as students and cultural and healthcare workers press their own demands.

In other news, Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was reportedly planning to announce the elimination of the system of private pensions set up by former president Carlos Menem (1989-1999). For the past two years many workers have been able to switch over to government-managed pensions. Fernández apparently wants to speed up the process because of the effect the world financial crisis is having on the private pensions. (La Jornada, Mexico, Oct. 21)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 26

See our last post on Argentina.