Union supports strike of federal education

Union Directors also expresses support for the strike of the construction of Fortaleza (Ceará)

The Union Executive Directors voted a proposal on May 28th to support the professors on strike in 48 federal teaching institutions – among them, 44 federal universities.

These workers have been on strike since last May 17th. The federal universities have gone through an expansion process due to REUNI, however, its financial resources required were not presented and now several problems have been brought about, such as lack of support to students (scholarships, cafeterias, dormitories etc), teachers, facilities, new buildings, safety in campus etc.

The university workers have faced a lot of work overload, with crowded classrooms, irregular working conditions – they haven’t been effectively hired, and are working as temporary workers instead, they have been teaching 40% more than the standard number of classes, have no career planning and few scholarships to encourage research and extension courses.

Last May 28th, around 300 teachers got together in front of the Ministério do Planejamento (Planning Ministery building in Brasília) to protest against the suspension of the first meeting, which was supposed to be held on the same day and against the federal government position, which has tried to disarticulate the workers’ movement and has refused to have a deal since the beginning of the strike.

On the following day, 2,000 UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) students showed support to the teachers on strike and agreement with them. It is the 19th university in which students become solidary with the professors.

In the past two years, Dilma’s government has cut down on almost 5 billion reais the investment in education, besides presenting a new National Education Program which proposes only 7% of the GNP (Gross National Product) for education in 2020.

“Only the union of all workers and students can stop the neoliberal attacks to Education. Our category has voted for 10% of the GNP for Education. This fight is also ours!” says the proposal approved by the Union executive directors.

The week before, students in California also approved a proposal of solidarity during the First State Student Conference. “We’d like to extend our full solidarity to the teachers in Brazil and tell them they are not alone in this fight, since the assaults to Education are happening worldwide,” says an excerpt of the message.

Civil Construction
The Union Executive Directors have also approved a proposal in support to the strike of the Civil Construction Workers in Fortaleza, Ceará, which has last over 25 days.

After facing the hard-line bosses and a campaign to make the workers’ movement considered criminal, the strike is close to its end, with the 2012 Collective Labor Agreement. The workers are in favor of an 8% raise and a R$50 basic-needs package, besides other benefits.
The companies’ not paying for the days in which the workers were stopped is what prevents the end of the negociations. While the workers want to come to an agreement with the companies on the pay related to such period, the patronal union has a different offer.