Buenos Aires – More than 4 million students in Argentina's most populous province stayed home from school Monday because of a teachers' strike over wage claims.
The 24-hour walkout is affecting both public and private elementary and secondary schools in Buenos Aires province.
"Observance of the strike is complete," the secretary-general of the Suteba teachers union, Roberto Baradel, said.
The director-general of the provincial education department, Mario Oporto, estimated that support for the strike was around 80 percent.
A coalition of the leading teachers' unions of Buenos Aires called a strike after negotiations at a series of meetings with provincial education authorities failed last week.
Suteba officials told Efe that they are seeking a "restructuring of wages" through the regularization of their salaries, and also demand that teachers be able to collect the government subsidies available to working parents.
The unions complain that raises granted during previous administrations have not been regularized, while around 50 percent of teachers with children who are minors receive none of the family compensation they should be getting.
Teachers complain that the provincial government has not respected the time limits established to present them with concrete proposals in response to their demands.
The authorities, for their part, say that the strike "is absolutely extremist," because at this time of the year, with little more than a month before the school term ends, it is impossible to reopen wage discussions.
Buenos Aires Gov. Daniel Scioli approved early this year a salary increase of 24 percent for teachers in the province, who in recent years have carried out numerous job actions to improve their working conditions.