The public sector workers in Sao Paolo are fighting for higher wages. Amongst them, the teachers are in the forefront. The teacher’s trade union in Sao Paolo, SINPEEM, who has about 60.000 members, demands a wage increase of 17%. However, the mayor offers only an increase of 13%. Worse, a significant sector of the teachers, namely those who started their job in the last 6 years, is offered even less. In addition, the mayor plans to change the laws for retirement so teachers could also lose some rights in future.
There have already been several mass assemblies of SINPEEM to discuss the struggle for the teacher’s demands. The latest one took place on 4 April and was attended by about 1.000 teachers.
The trade union bureaucracy, led by Claudio Fonseca (a former member of the Stalinist PCdoB, now in PPS) hesitates to go on strike in order to implement the teacher’s demands. They are delaying the decision to vote on a strike since several weeks. On the mass assembly, they proposed to move the decision to "strike or not" again to another assembly on 11 April. The centrist opposition – dominated by the Morenoite PSTU and PSOL – went along with the bureaucracy’s proposal.
The only real opposition to the bureaucracy’s delaying tactics came from comrade Joao Evangelista, a representative of the rank and file opposition list MUOC (Movimento Unificado de Oposição Classista) and a member of Corrente Comunista Revolucionária (RCIT Brazil). In his speech he warned against the delaying tactics of the bureaucracy and argued for the immediate decision in favor of a strike. He also called for an indefinite strike for a 17% wage increase till the mayor gives in. In addition, he argued for a joint struggle of the teachers with all other public sector employees.
An increasing number of teachers support such a militant class struggle position. Despite the hostile opposition of the trade union bureaucracy and the centrist opposition, comrade Evangelista’s proposal received more than 5% of the votes.
Comrade Joao Evangelista and the comrades from MUOC will intervene again on the incoming SINPEEM assembly on 11 April in order to fight against the union bureaucracy’s coward tactics.
A video from comrade Joao Evangelista speech can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd6hFIhimBE&feature=youtu.be