In defense of the agreement signed by Proifes

Image: Karen Laårk Boshoff
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By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO*

The poor quality of the ANDES restructuring proposal, combined with the unrealism of the proposed recovery rates, led to the usual situation: the progressive evolution of the negotiating dialogue between PROIFES and the government

1.

On May 27, 2024, after almost six months of negotiations, the federal government signed another agreement with PROIFES-Federation – the sixth in a historical series that began around two decades ago, shortly after the entity was founded. . In 2007, the first agreement was signed, with a significant adjustment to the salaries of higher education teachers (MS), in addition to the extinction of the productivist nature of the productivist bonus that existed at the time, benefiting retired teachers.

In March 2008, another very important agreement was signed, this time creating the new career path of Basic, Technical and Technological Education (EBTT), which enabled the expansion of the network of Federal Institutes, created and expanded under the successive Lula and Dilma Rousseff governments. In 2011, bonuses were incorporated, in addition to a modest replacement (4%). In 2012, the signing of a new pact between PROIFES and the federal government, implemented in three stages, raised the (isonomic) salaries of MS and EBTT teachers to the highest real level of the previous fifteen years.

In 2015, finally, it was possible to achieve, with the signing of an agreement with President Dilma Rousseff, the full restructuring of teaching careers: after three stages, in August 2017, August 2918 and August 2019, the entire salary network passed to have a logical structure, allowing the deduction of the salaries of teachers of any class, level, title and work regime from the minimum salary (20h assistant, graduate).

Andes played an important role in the redemocratization scenario in the 80s and 90s of the last century. However, equipped as it was, at the end of this period, by partisan groups from the sectarian spectrum of the left, it stopped defending the interests of teachers from the 2000s onwards, subsequently becoming involved in clashes against governments in the democratic and popular camp. That was when, back in 2004, they organized the first strike against the Lula government.

It was precisely because it radically diverged from the stance of these groups, which described the then government as 'as neoliberal as FHC's', and, therefore, as 'the enemy of the working class', with which a negotiation process that would result in advances would be impossible. , that a significant group of teachers broke with ANDES, still in 2004, creating PROIFES. ANDES' trajectory since then has been pitiful. It was against the quota policy. He then launched a national crusade against REUNI.

At its 53rd CONAD, in Palmas, 26-30 June 2008 (Final Report, p. 131) it approved “Intensifying the fight against the REUNI program within each IFES, articulating the intervention of the ANDES-SN union sections, proposing broad mobilizations and unified actions with students and administrative technicians to prevent, in practice, the government's university reform projects and plans, denouncing their harmful consequences, according to ANDES-SN resolutions”. From then on, together with students, he sponsored invasions of rectory offices, from the north to the south of the country, based on the 'fact' that general assemblies of teachers throughout Brazil would have a position against REUNI.

Later, in 2016, ANDES refused to classify the coup against President Dilma Rousseff as a coup. But, more than that, on June 28, 2016, ANDES requested, obtained and participated in a meeting with the Executive Secretariat of the MEC, as can be seen in the photo below, where it demanded the revocation, by the government of Michel Temer, of the agreement signed between PROIFES and President Dilma Rousseff. On that occasion, the president of ANDES asked the then government not to sanction Bill 4251/2015, which consolidated this agreement, and to re-discuss the issue with ANDES. Fortunately, it was not answered.

2.

We now analyze, in a factual and objective way, the events relating to the 2024 salary campaign.

ANDES initially claimed a 53,05% linear adjustment for federal teachers, as a category that had only had salary adjustments in two stages, in 2016 and 2017. Furthermore, it closed with SINASEFE a proposal with seven points, aiming at 'restructuring of careers'. The proposal was of poor quality and, if approved, would be a disaster for federal teachers, their careers and institutions, as well as for the production of knowledge, with serious damage to Brazil. Among several anachronistic aspects of the proposal, from the point of view of academic excellence, we highlight two.

Firstly, the extinction of classes was expected, with the creation, in their place, of 13 levels. As a result, instead of becoming a full professor in 19 years, teachers would need 24 years, with enormous losses for active and retired people, which would certainly make these careers less attractive, in addition to not being able to interact with any others, in the country or the world – certainly a serious setback.

Secondly, ANDES-SINASEFE's proposal provided for a reduction in the degree remuneration – in the case of doctors, for example, from 115% to 75%. In other words, the reduction of encouragement for academic qualifications!!! ANDESSINASEFE, subsequently, chose to hide this indefensible proposal from its bases, and ended up suggesting that restructuring be discussed further, at a sectoral table. At the same time, ANDES insisted all the time on positioning itself against the merger of the initial classes, as well as against the elevation of steps between levels, as proposed by PROIFES.

The poor quality of the ANDES restructuring proposal, combined with the unrealism of the proposed recovery rates, led to the usual situation: the progressive evolution of the negotiating dialogue between PROIFES and the government, culminating in a proposal made by the Federation and its subsequent partial acceptance.

PROIFES' restructuring proposal was as follows: (i) merger of the first two career classes (A/B, in the MS and DI/DII, in the EBTT) into a single one, with teachers starting their careers (and being included, in the case of those already in the careers) at the current salary level of B2/DII 2 – this would give an increase of 16,3% to the entry salaries of both careers (MS and EBTT), in addition to the linear replacement that were to be agreed upon; and (ii) increase, from 4% to 5%, in the steps of the C/D (deputy and associate, in the MS) and DIII/DIV (in the EBTT) levels, providing an additional increase in salaries at the highest levels of the careers . The salary recovery proposal envisaged 3,5% in 2024, 9,5% in 2025 and 4,0% in 2026.

The combined effect of these demands would produce the following result: (a) Professors at the beginning of their careers (doctors working 40 hours, exclusive dedication, as is the case for the majority), would go from the current R$10.4815 to R$14.369,72 in 2026, with nominal increase of 37,09%. (b) Mid-career teachers (adjuncts 4/DIII 4 – idem), would go from the current R$14.468,15 to R$17.549,66 in 2026, with a nominal increase of 21,30%. (c) Teachers at the end of their careers (tenured – ditto), would go from the current R$22.377,71 to R$27.934,39, with a nominal increase of 24,83%.

This proposal would not, as we know, recover the losses incurred in the two previous governments, but, under the circumstances and considering the current correlation of political forces at national level, it would represent an advance.

In response, the government almost fully accepted the restructuring of PROIFES, with small changes to some levels. It also accepted, with almost the same numbers, the replacements for 2025 and 2026, but did not grant any adjustment percentage in 2024. As a result, the government's proposal presented on May 15, 2024 (subject to the signing of the agreement), produced the following results: (1) Professors at the beginning of their careers (doctors working 40 hours, exclusive dedication, as is the case for the majority), increase from the current R$10.4815 to R$13.753,95 in 2026, with a nominal increase of 31,22 %. (2) Mid-career teachers (adjuncts 4/DIII 4 – idem), go from the current R$14.468,15 to R$16.877,23 in 2026, with a nominal increase of 16,65%. (3) Teachers at the end of their careers (tenured – ditto), go from the current R$22.377,71 to R$26.326,78, with a nominal increase of 17,65%.

It should be noted, therefore, that the government's final proposal was inferior to that of PROIFES and, despite this, it was accepted by the majority of the entity's bases, which is why, in respect for the internal democracy of the Federation, the agreement of May 27 of 2024 was signed.

3.

Finally, we will show, from a technical and objective point of view, the meaning of the last 'counter-proposal' presented by ANDES to the government, on May 27, 2024, when there was no longer room for negotiation. The 'counter-proposal' is as follows: adjustment of 3,69% in August 2024; 9% in 2025; and 5,16% in 2026; no changes should be made to the current career steps and, also, there should be no merger of the first two classes, as proposed by PROIFES and accepted by the government.

See below what the result would be produced by this proposal in the salaries of federal professors in 2026, if accepted: (i) Professors at the beginning of their careers (doctors working 40 hours, exclusive dedication, as is the case for the majority), would go from current R$10.481,65 to R$12.457,86 in 2026, with a nominal increase of 18,85%. (ii) Mid-career teachers (adjuncts 4/DIII 4 – idem), would increase from the current R$14.468,15 to R$17.195,98 in 2026, with a nominal increase of 18,85%. (iii) Teachers at the end of their careers (tenured – ditto), would go from the current R$22.377,71 to R$26.596,81, with a nominal increase of 18,85%.

The conclusion is that ANDES, in its eagerness to move forward in its minor union dispute, ended up making a proposal to the government that was much lower than that presented by PROIFES. Until then, the situation would only be noteworthy. But the numbers above show that, worse than that, although that entity's proposal for teachers in the middle or end of their career leads, in 2026, to numbers similar to those already agreed upon, the salaries proposed for the beginning of their career would be lower (also in 2026) to those already granted at R$1.296,09 – a loss of more than 12%! How can an entity ask the government to worsen the proposal it has already signed and, thus, concretely harm the category it claims to represent? It is definitely a claim that, on its merits, does not deserve consideration or protection.

Finally, it must be recognized that the recently signed agreement between PROIFES and the federal government does not represent the recovery sought by the category after years of salary cuts imposed by those who repeatedly attacked education, but it means and must be seen as a desirable start of recovery, which will need to be greatly deepened later on.

It will need to be accompanied by a vigorous expansion of the allocation of more funds to Federal Universities and Institutes, an invaluable heritage of the Brazilian people, to be preserved and expanded by those who defend public policies in the democratic and popular field.

*Gil Vicente Reis de Figueiredo is a retired professor from the Department of Mathematics at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar). It was opfirst president of PROIFES.


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