To the sound of Andean music and with interventions by puppeteers, the concentration of teachers and students of the 700 free workshops held in the city began. They gathered in front of the city’s Ministry of Culture to face the cuts launched by Jorge Macri for the Cultural Program in Barrios, on which 38 cultural centers and “almost 1,000 teachers who give workshops to around 50 thousand people in the city” depend. according to Sol Copley, general delegate of ATE Capital.

The program, run by the Directorate of Books, Libraries and Culture, already had its workers enduring high levels of precariousness: the lecture hour of the workshop leaders was already worth half of the hour of any other teacher and on top of that they are considered “transitional” plant, so they never accumulate age. Now the government wants to impose greater flexibility, with contracts for 3 months (until now they were renewed annually) and a cut in teaching hours, which implies not only a salary cut for the teaching staff but also a reduction in the offer of workshops in the city neighborhoods.

Copley, who is one of the workshop leaders of the Cultural Program in Barrios, also pointed out that “there are teachers who are left with only two hours of classes per month and if they have to take two groups they would spend more than they earn going to work. In addition, a workshop cannot be held in two hours a month.” Regarding the reduction of contracts to three months, he pointed out that “it is crazy”, not only because of the increase in flexibility for an already very precarious sector, but because “people sign up for an annual workshop, that is, The teacher has to come to class and say ‘look, I won’t be there in three months’, it’s a total mess. They are supposed to make the government more efficient and in reality the opposite is true. “They come to do their business.”

Pablo, a drawing teacher at two of the affected centers, commented that “they are trying to deduct 25% of my income. We also have no seniority, I have worked since 1997 and my seniority at this moment is zero.” For his part, Fernando, professor of worldview and Andean instruments, indicates that “I have been in the program for 18 years. We are creators of culture, of art. The level of expertise of the teaching staff is very high. During the pandemic it was an explosion, we were able to contain many people, each of us had 80, 90 students. It is unfair that we do not earn more, that we do not have more applications towards society and on top of that now they come and fire you, they come and reduce your salary. “It is an ignominy.”

Students from the workshops also participated in the concentration. Ricardo, a student at the Montecastro Cultural Center, defined Macri’s measures as “arbitrary and out of place. These types of workshops are needed, it does a lot of good for the community, not only because of the workshop but because of what it means to the people, there are many people who are alone and who need this, relationships and friendships are generated, there are many things that these workshops contain”

María Sol, who participates in literature and film workshops, added her voice to the complaint: “they are therapeutic spaces, meeting friends and doing something we like to do. I always say the same thing: because of work, because of raising children, we often put off things that we like and now that we are retired we can do them. But it is not a space just for retirees, it is a space for the community, it gives life to the commune, closing this is suicide. Apart from something else, we are also here supporting the teachers, who are excellent. At the end of the year, samples are made of everything that is done in the workshop and you see the paintings they make, the wood carving, macramé, different dances, music, and everything is spectacular. So they can’t tear down all that, they can’t, they shouldn’t!

Members of some of CABA’s neighborhood assemblies, such as Barracas and Caballito, artists and workers from Unidxs por la Cultura and delegates from other cultural sectors of the city also participated. Marcelo Gómez, delegate of ATE, from the general direction of Music and the Marrón group, pointed out that the culture area has already suffered layoffs since December and commented: “we come with our colleagues from the Parque Centenario Amphitheater to support this cultural assembly. We also come with the neighborhood assemblies to accompany against the reduction of salaries of the companions. We call on the CGT and the CTA to initiate a plan to fight against the adjustment. As we did with the assemblies, to roll back the Omnibus Law, so we have what to do to bring down Macri and Milei’s adjustment.”

Workers of the Cultural Centers remain in a state of alert and mobilization and will define new fighting measures for the coming weeks.


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