Danko: ISU Unknown Organisation, Government Partners Are Unionists

Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, October 3 (TASR) – Protesters who demand teacher salary hikes of more than €100 have no idea what they’re asking for, Slovak National Party (SNS) chair and parliamentary chair Andrej Danko said on Monday.

According to Danko, the demand is completely divorced from reality, as its accommodation would mean an instant expenditure hike of almost a half billion euros for the state. The relevant Government portfolio in this sphere – the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sports – is headed by an SNS nominee, Peter Plavcan.

Danko stressed that the state is supposed to hold a dialogue regarding teacher salaries only with properly designated partners – school labour unions. He called the Slovak Teachers Initiative (ISU), which has gone on an incremental strike since September, a “relatively unknown organisation”. “They don’t really have a clear grasp on manners and sums; therefore, it’s not really appropriate to escalate strikes and take advantage of children in order to accomplish their goals,” he said before the beginning of a conference on education employees’ working conditions – organised by labour unions chaired by Pavol Ondek.

“I declare that during (the tenure of) this governing coalition, a significant hike of teacher salaries will take place. However, we shouldn’t also forget about other professions,” said Danko, who believes that teachers should be happy, as they “are in one of the few state professions guaranteed a proportional salary”. The Government has pledged to bolster teacher salaries by 26 percent within the years to come and has already increased teacher wages by 6 percent since September, explained Danko.

The teachers on strike demand the Government and Parliament to employ legislative measures to increase the salaries of all teachers in regional education by €140 this year and €90 as of 2017. They also call for a revision of the teacher credit course system and to have the Interior Ministry’s and Education Ministry’s budgets increased by another €400 million in order to do away with disparities in individual schools’ quality of equipment.