Mexico: COVID-19 issues feature in SNTE demands

published 24 February 2021 updated 26 February 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced many of the issues put together by the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE) for its 2021 list of national demands.

The list was compiled after consultations with teachers and will be delivered to the Minister of Education and former teacher, Delfina Gómez Álvarez.

In addition to requests pertaining to salaries and benefits, the regulation of teleworking and basic technological knowledge for teachers were specifically related to the COVID-19 crisis.

National dialogue

On 14 February, SNTE’s national Executive Board unanimously approved the list of demands during an extraordinary virtual meeting.

SNTE Secretary General Alfonso Cepeda Salas explained that 1,292,063 education workers from all over Mexico participated in the consultation held from 18 January-1 February. The educators expressed their needs in terms of salaries, working conditions, and economic, and professional issues as well as social benefits.

This type of consultation is “a valuable exercise that contributes to deepening SNTE’s democratic culture”, he said.

Due to the pandemic, the union conducted this consultation both online, with a digital questionnaire, and in person, in places established by union sections and respecting public health measures.

Among long-standing educators’ demands are job security, regulation of working conditions, vertical and horizontal promotions, and enhanced initial training and increased in-service training.

COVID-19-related demands

“However, the pandemic influences other demands, such as regulation of telework, basic technological knowledge, the reform of the general law on the teachers’ career system. We will raise these demands in the appropriate arenas to get answers to these educators’ demands,” stressed SNTE’s national leader.

Cepeda Salas went on to highlight the requirement that hospital care be guaranteed for all diseases, including COVID-19.

It is crucial that SNTE “can be recognised as a strong and united union, with the capacity to lead dialogue and obtain important achievements for the protection of educators’ working conditions and wages, even in the crisis caused by the pandemic”.

Social security

During the online meeting of SNTE’s Executive Board, it was also stressed that a national consultation of educators on social security is under way. The results will be delivered to the Institute of Social Security and Services for State Workers.

Finally, Cepeda Salas commended the members of the SNTE for the unity and solidarity they have shown in the face of the pandemic.