Public school teachers of the State of São Paulo (Brazil) were on strike for 22 days and the teachers of the capital of the State, the city of São Paulo, started its strike on May 3. The teachers of the state had finished their strike (APEOESP- Union of Teachers of the State), but the teachers of the city continues, with the command of the SINPEEM (Union of the educator of the city of São Paulo). The teachers of the state were protesting the noncompliance with a minimum educator’s salary law that was passed in Brazil’s Congress 5 years ago, with an average 780 dollars per month and working 40 hours weekly. In addition they demand a raise of the minimum, an increase of the budget for education and for teacher training as well as reductions in class sizes and better working conditions.
The teachers however have to fight not only against the government and the repressive police. They have also an enemy within – the teacher’s trade union leadership which is close to the government around the reformist PT. Maria Isabel Noronha (Bebel), president of the teachers union São Paulo state (APEOESP), in May 10, declared the end of the strike despite the fact that a mass of two thousand teachers in assembly voted with 70% in favor of the continuation of the strike! No surprise that she only escaped the fury of the teachers by calling the vicious Military Police to protect her.
One of the main reasons for Bebel betraying the strike and declaring the end of it was that the union leadership feared to be faced with two strikes, demonstrations and common acts both in the State and in the City. This would have exposed to the population that the two bosses – the government of the State ruled by the PSDB (conservative) and the government of the city ruled by the PT (Popular Front) are only opposition during the elections.
This shows once more the treacherous role of the trade union bureaucracy. Its main interest is to preserve their positions and privileges for which they are dependent on keeping good relations with the bourgeois state and the capitalists. Workers must never trust them! They must do everything possible to organize independently of the bureaucracy – in action committees – in order to control the struggle and decide democratically in mass assemblies.
The teachers of the city (SINPEEM) should not be influenced by the defeat of State colleagues and continue their strike against the government of the PT and its bourgeois policies of wage squeeze and privatizations.
They should also appeal to the teachers and trade unions in other cities and States to join the struggle. Similarly it is important to orientate towards broadening the struggle to other sector of the working class.
Victory to the City Teacher’s Strike in São Paulo!
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