Chilean teachers vote to continue the strike

The president of the teachers union said that a national assembly will be held to define the action plan for the next stage of their movement.

July 12, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
“The teacher that is fighting fighting, is also educating”, reads the scarf. Photo: Colegio de Profesores de Chile

On July 10, in a fresh national teachers’ consultation organized by the teachers union, the Colegio de los Profesores de Chile (CPC), Chilean teachers rejected the proposal made by the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) on July 8 with a margin of less than 1% and decided to continue with the strike that they have been carrying out since June 3.

As per the declared results, a majority of 50.36% of the teachers voted for the option to reject the MINEDUC’s proposal and continue the indefinite national strike. Whereas, 49.64% of the teachers supported the option of accepting the proposal, calling off the strike and delegating the CPC the responsibility to continue the dialogue and negotiate over the pending demands.

Mario Aguilar, the president of the CPC, said “if the teachers have expressed their rejection in these percentages, it is because there are still pending issues that concern us, that interest us and that are important for Chilean education. Therefore, we believe that we should talk, seek solutions and we are available for that.” He also indicated that on July 11, a national assembly will be held to “define in more depth the next stage of our movement”.

On July 8, after the meeting with the Chilean education minister Marcela Cubillos, Aguilar called on teachers to accept the government’s offer and end the strike, saying that “it is the moment of retreat, that we accept what they have offered us.” However, he vowed that the CPC will continue fighting for the pending demands.

The latest offer proposed by the MINEDUC did not address the payment of a special bonus to special educators and primary teachers, payment of the long-standing teachers’ debt (the payment owed to retired teachers since the time of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship) and withdrawal of the curriculum changes that make subjects like History, Physical Education and Arts optional instead of compulsory for third and fourth grade.