LIMA – The Sutep union representing 350,000 Peruvian public school teachers launched a 24-hour strike on Thursday to press demands for a 100 percent increase in their base pay.
The union’s general secretary, Hamer Villena, told the media that he estimated that about 330,000 teachers will take part in the strike around the country to demand a minimum salary of 2,310 soles ($732) a month.
Villena said that currently 121,000 teachers are receiving only 1,000 soles ($317), while 195,000 others earn 1,300 soles ($412) a month.
Villena also said that pensions for out-of-work and retired teachers stand at 680 soles ($215) per month.
“Nobody can live on the salary of 1,000 soles. We’re asking for a dignified salary for teaching, according to the basic family basket and cost of living,” Villena said.
He blamed the situation on Education Minister Jaime Saavedra, saying that he had not listened to the demands of the teachers.
“The one to blame for this strike is the minister, who has not called us to talk. We’re ready to talk, but there has been no positive response on the part of the government. (There has been) simply mistreatment and firings,” the Sutep leader said.
The Lima teachers gathered at Sutep’s downtown office and they are scheduled to march to the Education Ministry.
The strike is the second national work stoppage since the Teaching Career Law was implemented last year, a measure that sets forth a series of changes in the labor structure and pay for teachers according to their training and performance.