Despite threats of dismissal from employers, Peruvian teachers union and medical staff from the Ministry of Health join forces in Lima continuing their strike after more than 50 days.
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According to the Fighting Trade Unions of Education Workers Committee, protesters from 14 regions initiated the strike Sunday night in Cusco with more expected to join the movement.
Doctors and teachers will demand the government honor its agreement with the education staff of higher salaries and better working conditions, which medics have also pushed for the last 35 days.
The Ministry of Education issued a warning to teachers, saying that their newly negotiated salary increase of about US$600,000 will see serious deductions if teachers do not hold classes Monday, adding that if educators remain absent all week, they will be dismissed.
According to Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio, police will be on school property to escort and protect any teachers who choose to return to their classrooms, in an apparent attempt to divide the strikers.
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The trade union committee president Pedro Castillo stated that although the national government and regional governors met the striker’s demands beginning in December, the newly organized protest is to ensure these agreements are actually carried out.
Regional unions are now demanding commitments from the administration, additional funding to public education and programs, among other terms.
Doctors will be demanding an increase in the country’s health budget, as promised by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski during his presidential campaign, insisting he increase the budget by 0.5 percent of the country’s GDP every year.