Employees of the National University in Colombia’s capital, Bogota, on Monday reached an agreement with the government to end a strike that has kept nearly 30,000 students out of the classroom for 27 days.
The strike began on February 20 when between 500 and 2,000 technical assistance, maintenance, and some administrative workers blocked several university entrances demanding a 30% pay increase. Worker wages currently average about $470 annually. According to strike representative Jaime Salamandra, “More than half of the workers (2,511 in total) accrue less than one million pesos [approximately $550] even though many have been with the university for over thirty years.”
Strikers agreed to the government’s offer of a bonus for 2013 of approximately $663 per worker. Strike representative Carlos Arango added that final negotiations to end the strike are still in the process.
The university also agreed to carry out a technical study on purchasing power to assess whether the 30% wage increase demanded by university employees is justified.
Most administrative officials and teachers have another wage system and were not involved in the strike.
Students will return to class on Tuesday and the missed time will be recovered during the end of the year holiday period.