Peru teachers go on indefinite strike

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Sutep – Peru’s public teachers union – launched an indefinite strike on Wednesday, over wage disputes with the government.

Rene Ramirez, Sutep’s spokesperson, said close to 350,000 teachers would join the strike, nationwide.

According to El Comercio, Sutep is asking for a 30 percent salary payment for class preparation at the beginning of the school year, and an increase to the ministry of education’s budget to 6 percent of the country’s GDP, up from the current 3.3 percent.

Hugo Diaz, member of the country’s National Council on Education, said the proposed ‘preparation bonus’ would mean an additional 1.050 billion soles a year.

Furthermore, increasing the ministry’s budget to 6 percent of GDP, Diaz said, would mean an additional 10 billion soles a year.

By noon hundreds of teachers had taken to the streets of downtown Lima, causing traffic jams.

President Ollanta Humala urged teachers to dialogue with the government.

"I make a call to teachers, for them to seek dialogue and not use force to try to change the country’s direction," Humala said, according to RPP.

Ramirez, Sutep’s spokesperson, said the organization hoped to start talks with government officials as soon as possible.

"Hopefully this will not last very long. That will depend on the government. We will put all our energy into solving these problems, but we hope the government does so too,” Ramirez was quoted as saying by El Comercio.

Sutep – Peru’s public teachers union – launched an indefinite strike Wednesday, over wage disputes with the government.

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