By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Municipal teachers, who took up their strike again on September 20th, invaded the city council in Rio de Janeiro, where new educational regulations should have been discussed. After the session had been interrupted, any decision has now been postponed to Tuesday, October 1st.
Almost a thousand teachers, who make up sixty percent of all municipal employees, protested peacefully outside the parliament in Rio’s Cinelandia during the morning of Thursday, September 26th.
However, when the council’s session started at 2:30 PM, around three hundred of the protesters entered the galleries, instead of the seventy allowed, and interrupted the debate.
The session had been convened under an emergency decree after a decision last week, and debated the wages and time per class of first to fifth grade teachers, planning to level them over the next five years with the sixth to ninth grade. This would cost approximately R$3 billion and benefit 43,000 teachers.
However, SEPE, the teachers’ union, doesn’t agree with the government plan. “The fact that they insist on an urgent vote is very bad. In addition, there is the issue of introducing it over the next five years, which seems foolhardy,” Dorotéa Frota, director of SEPE, told O Globo. The union is demanding wages as high as R$130,000 according to Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes.
Yesterday, the Court of the State of Rio de Janeiro had decided that the Municipal Secretariat of Education could deduct the strike days from the teachers’ holiday pay. The secretariat announced that if the strike is declared as illegal, days not worked will be tallied starting from September 6th, and the decision now lies with Mayor Paes.
Also on strike for almost fifty days are the state’s teachers. Joining them are currently bank and mail employees, who are all fighting for better wages and have been on strike for some time now.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.