Guatemala: teachers’ strike settled

After lengthy negotiations on Feb. 26, Guatemala’s new education minister, Dennis Alonzo, and Joviel Acevedo, head of the 80,000-member National Teachers Assembly (ANM), reached an agreement settling a wage dispute that had set off a series of militant actions starting Feb. 22. Thousands of teachers tied up traffic throughout the country and occupied a central plaza in Guatemala City to push their demand for a 16% pay increase this year, including an 8% raise the government had failed to provide in 2009.

Acevedo announced the terms of the deal before hundreds of teachers in the Plaza de la Constitución on March 1. The teachers are to receive a 10% increase this year—the 8% pay hike promised for 2010 plus 2% from the 8% raise due last year. A technical group will analyze budgeting a 14% increase next year, representing 8% for 2011 along with the 6% still owed from 2009. Guatemalan president Alvaro Colom also addressed the demonstrators, acknowledging that more needed to be done to improve the education system and calling for fiscal reforms to generate additional income for social programs. (Prensa Latina, EFE, Feb. 27; Guatemala Hoy, March 2)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, March 9

See our last post on Guatemala.