Education Minister Sonia Mora on Thursday said officials are conducting an intervention of the ministry’s human resources department to determine the causes of a major failure in a new salary payment system that has prevented thousands of teachers from being paid, some for several months.
The payment backlog has sparked a nationwide strike that is in its second week.
Mora made the announcement during a 90-minute hearing at the Legislative Assembly in which she explained to lawmakers that the back-pay problems originated during data migration to the new payment system.
The minister said she ordered the intervention due to a lack of information on the extent of the problems.
She also questioned a report from former Education Minister Leonardo Garnier, saying that the “errors in payments are much bigger than those reported by officials from the previous administration.”
Mora said the actual number of educators involved is 13,655, not 6,000 as reported last week.
“This intervention does not affect the normal operation of the [human resources] department, but it will allow us to receive updated reports that will help us make decisions to correct a problem that we still do not fully understand,” Mora told a full Assembly.
She also said the ministry plans to pay salaries in three installments, which was proposed during a 12-hour meeting with union leaders on Wednesday.
Unions rejected that proposal, leading to a stalemate on Thursday.
Yesterday, hundreds of demonstrators marched to Casa Presidencial and blocked nearby roads for several hours.
Protests began on May 5 and continued on Friday.