ITUC OnLine – April 25, 2007(2)

Brussels, 25 April 2007 (ITUC Online): Police repression continues to dominate certain provinces of Argentina. Teacher Carlos Fuentalba was a fatal victim of police brutality on taking part in a teacher’s demonstration in Neuquen on 4 April. He died from a blow to the head with a teargas bomb, which was shot just two metres away from him.

The teacher demonstration, organised at the beginning of April, was held in support of a claim for a wage rise, which had been approved at national level but has still not been applied in Neuquen. The ITUC has firmly condemned these brutal police methods. In a letter to the Argentinian authorities, the International Trade Union Confederation called on the government to take all the measures necessary to ensure that the Argentinian education system can function as best possible and regain its lost prestige, both in terms of infrastructure and working conditions.

A demonstration in protest at police brutality was held on 9 April. Those taking part included the CGT and the CTA – organisations affiliated to the ITUC, along with teachers from across the country. The demonstrators showed their indignation at the attitude of Jorge Sobisch, the Governor of Neuquen, who insists on justifying the police’s actions.

“Argentina does not need new acts of violence, what it needs is social justice and respect for human and trade union rights, the linchpins of democracy,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder. The ITUC has demanded that a full and independent investigation be carried out in order to find those responsible for the death of Carlos Fuentalba and to ensure that they are brought to justice.

The Argentinian teachers’ trade unions are pursuing their fight, in spite of the attacks being levelled against them. On Wednesday 25 April, for example, unknown assailants attacked the house of the ATEN teachers’ union general secretary, Marcelo Guagliardo, whilst the trade union was negotiating the teachers’ salaries.