Teachers in Baja California, the northernmost state in Mexico, have been on strike for two weeks demanding to be paid salary that they are owed. The government does not dispute that the sum of $43 million is owed both to teachers and their retired colleagues, with 30 teachers having died waiting for their pensions, according to teachers' leaders.

The strike started in selected primary schools and has now spread to all parts of the education sector, including teacher training colleges. Teachers have asked parents to be understanding of their struggle. One said: 'This situation is not your fault, nor is it the fault of teachers - it is the fault of the government which has been incapable of paying the money it owes.' Apparently the government is now trying to raise money from the private sector to pay its debts.

The strike is about more than unpaid salaries however. The teachers are demanding an end to temporary contracts, an invariable feature of education 'reform'. Leaders of CESD say that the official union SNTE is not leading the strike - it was in fact forced on it by pressure from below. They say that it is important to understand that the source of the problem is the education reform act, which has been passed by the federal administration of Pena Nieto. This act has been resisted by teachers in every way possible: through strikes, protest marches, road blocks and weeks of occupations, including in the capital Mexico City. They say that the money owed to teachers has been diverted to campaigns connected to the reform process.

This week the strike is total, with Wednesday set aside to talk to parents. Friday May 1st will be used for the traditional marches and protests associated with international labour day.