Both, university professors and teachers who live in the Caroní Municipality have carried out different activities to continue raising their voices to forward their demands not only for decent salaries but also for their benefits.
Pableysa Ostos | Correspondent lapatilla.com
Raúl Brito, President of the Association of Professors of the Guayana Experimental University (APUNEG), denounced that “the payment of our las paycheck was a disappointment. I received 187 bolivars for a fortnight, some others 86, 200 and 72 bolivars. Those are the salaries that teachers in Venezuela receive. That is why today we express ourselves, we protest, we manifest this discontent. Who can support a family with that?” Referring to the most recent fortnight check they received.
He added that none of them is exempt from having to do other types of activities to earn a living, since the payments they receive for being professors or staff who work in a public university does not even cover the daily payment of public transportation.
“Besides, what can you buy with that if a chicken costs 200 bolivars, a kilo of cheese 120, or an egg carton (30 eggs) 200 Bs. The university is hit. The students don’t have transportation, they don’t have a dining room, they don’t have scholarships, the classrooms without air conditioning, without light, computer labs on the ground, disastrous bathrooms. We suffer an attack on the university and the people. Here there is no blockade, what there is is looting, a looting of the dignity of university professors.” highlighted the academic representative.
“A university professor in 1999 earned 2 thousand dollars (monthly), now he earns 20 dollars. The university student had breakfast, lunch and dinner, 24 student (bus) routes, the student scholarship was worth a minimum salary, they could go to university sports games, now they don’t have any of that,” stressed Prof. Brito, who also added that they are not seeking a salary increase because this will eventually be “crushed by the National Budget Office (Onapre)” over time. They want to discuss their collective contract including HCM (Hospitalization, Surgery and Maternity) insurance, funeral expenses, savings banks, in short: everything provided for in the social clauses of collective contracts.
For his part, Manuel Salazar, a worker at the Antonio José de Sucre Unexpo (National Experimental Polytechnic University), said that the salary situation is not just an inflationary issue, “it is a political problem because as long as this government continues, they will disregard our rights, which were achieved under previous governments with blood, sweat and tears. No government had dared to rob us of what this government is doing right now.”
He stressed that it is a situation that affects everyone, which is why he called on the rest of the workers in the university sector to join the fight that they have been carrying out for a long time, “it is not just any benefit, it is our family patrimony.”
Meanwhile Paulino Aguilar, administrative representative before the UNEG University Council, pointed out that “we protest for the dignity of our salaries, while the government creates policies with “dollarized budget” or in “petros”, the workers are paid in bolivars. Our salary was devalued by 70% in less than six months and is not even enough to cover sustenance for our family, when the constitution establishes that it must cover the basic basket that is above 500 dollars a month,” he added.
The protests for salary adjustment and labor demands also groups teachers, teachers, administrative personnel, among others, who work in public schools, to this one may add the nursing and healthcare sector and workers of basic companies (National, government run, steel and aluminum mining and processing corporations).
In the recent extraordinary general assembly of teachers, held at the “Casa del Educador” located in El Roble, San Félix, the teachers agreed on a series of measures “that will be carried out in favor of the defense of the rights of the Guayana teachers and more specifically of the professors and teachers of our Caroní Municipality, in thus their families.”
Among the (proposed) agreements is to deliver to the Municipal Council for the Rights of Boys, Girls and Adolescents the complaint of the risk of violation of the rights of children of the teachers, workers and administrative staff of the public education sector. “To make clear that we are not violating the right to education of our students because we are attending them with face-to-face classes 3 days a week as a measure of protest against the working conditions that prevent us from fulfilling as parents the full exercise and safeguarding of the rights of our children,” they pointed out during the assembly.
They added that they will also submit a letter to INPSASEL for the constant workplace harassment to which teachers are subjected by managers and supervisors so that they abandon the claims and protests for the violation of the Second Single and Unitary Collective Agreement regarding the deterioration of contractual benefits and current salary conditions caused by the repeated delay of the signing of the III Collective Agreement.
In the assembly they also agreed to introduce a Constitutional Protection Appeal before the corresponding Labor Court in order to preserve their labor rights and the right to protest of teachers and other public education workers, “whenever the State as an employer, it has breached the II Single and Unitary Collective Agreement, which has brought about a deterioration in the contractual benefits established therein and the recurring delay in the signing of the III Single and Unitary Collective Agreement of the public education sector.”
“The corresponding complaints will be filed in the Labor Inspectorate for threats of direct and indirect dismissals by the MPPE (Education Ministry) and the Bolívar State Government through actions that prevent teachers from signing the daily attendance books and sending people from civil organizations (“colectivos”, pro government armed gangs) such as UBCH (Chávez Battle Units), Chamba Juvenil, Somos Venezuela and others to replace teachers who rightly demand the signing of the III Single and Unitary Collective Agreement and 280% in contractual benefits that have been not delivered or fulfilled due to unilateral actions of Venezuelan State in its role as patron (employer),” stressed the teachers.
Despite the persecution and threats to which they have been exposed, they maintain that they will continue to protest clearly and emphatically, thus continuing with the scheme of Inter-day Permanent Assemblies or 1×1, that is, one day of schooling, one of protest.
They also approved street activities but only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, days where the permanent assembly will be held, as well as marches that will be announced in the coming days.
The street movements that have developed in Ciudad Guayana, since the beginning of 2023, have been for the demand for better wages and claims for labor rights.