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Teachers Block Roads and Highways Again

By: Staff | Real Acapulco News - 19 October, 2010

(Chilpancingo, 19 October, JG) The so-called “State Coordinating Group of Education Workers in Guerrero” or “CETEG” blocked the highway linking Mexico City and Acapulco again on Monday, this time for four hours in Chilpancingo. They then marched throughout the state capital. Over the last two or three years this group has snarled traffic and blocked roadways in Acapulco and Chilpancingo, demanding compliance by the state’s education administrators with a negotiated labor settlement. Group leaders have also threatened to bring their protests back to the Costera Alemán in Acapulco, where once more they will disrupt traffic and further damage the environment for tourism.

Militants in the teachers’ union claim that the government has failed to pay the additional amounts of salary and benefits previously agreed to. Instead of the usual one month’s salary as a year-end bonus, they demanded 90 days, and now assert that the government agreed to 45. They also claim that the government agreed to a higher level of service for teachers from the ISSSTE (the government’s health and social services organization for workers) and an end to payment of salaries by bank card, which, they say, “is only a benefit for the banks.” A plan for a benefits package was agreed to as well, they say, and so far the government has left it unfunded to the tune of $40 million pesos.

In the past, government officials have responded that they have indeed complied with all terms formally agreed to, and that the union is just trying to re-negotiate matters previously settled. They also accuse the union leadership of creating trouble because the government seeks to end certain payroll abuses, like ghost workers on the payrolls and jobs in which the worker has a vested right his job, whether or not he shows up for work, with the ability to pass the position on to his heirs. Officials accuse CETEG leaders of acting mainly to advance their own interests, with little concern for the welfare of the vast majority of teachers, the school children, and the general public.

In the battle of words and marches it is impossible to confirm all the allegations slung by one side of the dispute towards the other; but as is often the case in Guerrero’s political disputes, some truth is likely to be found on each side. Even so, many claims may ultimately be seen more as myth than fact. The net result is that in Guerrero, where education is scarce and precious, the children are the ultimate losers in the periodic flare ups between politicians and labor leaders, not to mention the collateral damage to the tourism environment in Acapulco and elsewhere throughout the state.

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