In Peru about 60 teachers in the tourist city of Cuzco have been on a hunger strike since 22 June in protests against low salaries.
In Peru about 60 teachers in the tourist city of Cuzco have been on a hunger strike since 22 June in protests against low salaries. The hunger strike follows last month's general strike ordered by Peruvian trade unions which resulted in violent clashes with police and a state of emergency being declared.
SYNOPSIS: In Cuzco on Wednesday (28 June) the teachers went into their sixth day of the hunger strike with further demonstrations and marches outside government buildings in the city.
At a special meeting speakers declared that standards in schools and universities could not be maintained on their present salaries and what they described as meagre government spending on education. The left-wing school teachers' union, SUTEP, and about a third of its 140,000 members have been on strike since the first week in May. The teachers, who average 80 dollars-a-month pay, say their first priority is to look after their families.
The 60 hunger strikers claim their salary is not enough for them to build up a good standard of cultural education and that books are so expensive in Peru that they cannot function as proper teachers. Earlier in the month, Peru's military government began the summary trial of 77 teachers accused of inciting pupils to riot in last month's protests against new austerity measures. Some schools have been closed and the authorities are recruiting new staff. However the hunger strikers say they will not be deterred until their salaries are increased.