Opposition Parties Endorse Teachers on Strike

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Teachers' protest on SNP Square, Bratislava.

Bratislava, January 25 (TASR) – Opposition parties Most-Hid, the Christian Democrats (KDH), OLaNO, SDKU-DS and extra-parliamentary party SKOK have endorsed the strike by some 11,500 teachers that began on Monday, TASR learnt on the same day.

Most-Hid chairman Bela Bugar said that teachers have the right to go on strike with no heed to whether or not an election is coming up. “We’ve got to give our education sector a vision that will emerge from a broad social agreement across the entire political spectrum. The only indicator for how successful the Government and ministers are must be to what extent this vision is being implemented. Such a vision should provide a permanent direction for positive changes in the education sector with the purpose of increasing the quality of the entire system and its parts, including the remuneration of teachers,” said Bugar.

KDH MEP Miroslav Mikolasik said that teachers aren’t clamouring for something extra; rather, they only want to lead decent lives and stop being insulted by the state, which should protect them instead. “Prime Minister Robert Fico has disqualified himself and damaged Slovakia’s credit. While some time ago he did show some willingness to help teachers, for whom he now says no money is left, he’s made it clear most recently that he has no such plans and has no respect for them,” said Mikolasik.

OLaNO-NOVA also supported the teachers’ strike, writing on its profile on a social network that “education is the best gift we can give to our children”.

According to SDKU-DS, the strike involves the entire context of education in Slovakia. “This is why the teachers’ protest isn’t only about their remuneration, but about how the youngest generation will be brought up in the future. The thousands of teachers on strike pointed to their desperate position today [Monday], but the Slovakia-wide wave of anger and frustration is a consequence of the situation in which the entire education system has found itself,” said party chairman Pavol Freso.

SKOK chairman Juraj Miskov urged teachers not to succumb to pressure from the Government and some of their colleagues. “Don’t give in to the pressure and bossing at schools. You’re not doing it for yourselves, but for the future of Slovakia, the children of us all. Education must be a priority. As a parent I’m rooting for you,” said Miskov.

In addition to the strike, over 2,000 teachers from all over Slovakia gathered on Bratislava’s Slovak National Uprising (SNP) Square to express their displeasure at what they see as the long-term disregarding of their demands.